Criminal Conspiracy Charges: What They Are And How You Can Fall Victim To Them
A criminal conspiracy charge can often take a person off guard. It sounds sinister, like one of those charges you hear about in movies. But it can happen, and it can happen to you even if you didn't commit the actual intended crime.
What's a Conspiracy?
Conspiracy occurs when more than one person agree on a plan to commit a crime. For example, if three people work out a scheme to steal a car, but only one person actually commits the theft, then the other two can face conspiracy charges.
What Makes Conspiracy a Crime?
The one thing that can trip people up about a conspiracy charge is that a crime does not have to take place for the charge to stick. Just the act of planning the crime is the crime in conspiracy cases.
Using the previous example, if two of the three people say they no longer want to have any part in the robbery, they're still guilty of conspiracy. In some instances, it's not enough to simply not do; you must also renounce your involvement to the other members. Or, you must alert law enforcement of the intended activity.
Understanding the Elements of Conspiracy
If you were only there for the preliminary part of the plan, and then distance yourself, why should you have to accept blame later? The trouble here is that conspiracy charges don't require much in way of action. There are only really two things required for the charge.
1. An agreement – An agreement is nothing more than some form of affirmative response between you and one or more other persons. For example, if Friend A says, "We should rob that guy," and Friend B says, "…yeah." That's all it takes. Even if Friend B wasn't serious, an agreement was established.
2. An action – An action is any move towards committing the agreed on crime. For example, Friend A and B follow someone to their home to see where they live. Even if nothing else occurs after that, there was still an action towards robbery.
Sometimes knowledge represents an element of conspiracy as well. For example, if Friend C overheard A and B talking about a robbery, then Friend C becomes a part of the conspiracy. This is especially true if Friend C does not warn anyone, or does nothing within a reasonable person's power to stop it.
A Fine Line between Innocence and Conspiracy
The way criminal conspiracy works varies state by state as well as on a federal level. There are many defenses for conspiracy, but it takes a knowledgeable criminal lawyer to help someone prove they are innocent of the charge.
Even if you're not facing charges, you may want to speak to a criminal lawyer. You will need to know what you should do if you suspect you can fall victim to conspiracy charges.
For example, if you know of a situation, or removed yourself from it, you're still not free and clear. You should speak to a lawyer about it and see what else you can do to make sure you stay on the right side of the law. Visit http://www.darksidelawyers.com for more information.