Criminal Conspiracy Charges
If you were charged with criminal conspiracy, you first must understand that this is an umbrella term for a vast category of crimes. Conspiracy, in legal terms, is a group of individuals coming together to commit a criminal act. There are both federal and state anti-conspiracy statutes, and you could fall beneath either banner.
Why Does The Prosecution Charge Defendants With Criminal Conspiracy?
When you are charged with criminal conspiracy, be it a the federal or the state level, it allows a number of advantages. Firstly, a criminal conspiracy charge allows the prosecution to put a possible conviction on a defendant before an underlying crime takes place. This can be taken as a preventative measure. Secondly, it allows the prosecution to charge several individuals, presenting evidence against their entire group.
However, this also makes collecting evidence on said crime rather difficult. A poorly structured conspiracy charge can be detrimental to a prosecutor’s case.
What Does Prosecution Need for a Criminal Conspiracy Charge?
There are a few key elements that the government needs to prove in order to prosecute for criminal conspiracy. These things are:
- An agreement to commit a crime. It does not need to be written, oral, or explicit, but can be determined from the facts of a case.
- Requires at least one person in the conspiracy charge to have committed an act in furtherance of the conspiracy to commit a crime.
- With these two requirements, they can then move forward in a prosecution with good faith that it will ‘stick’.
What Kind of Criminal Conspiracies Can I be Charged With?
There are two types of conspiracy that government prosecutors will use. These types are “hub-and-spoke,” and “chain” conspiracies. A hub-and-spoke conspiracy dictates that a number of individuals have attempted to conspire with one person but not with the others in said group. This allows several conspiracies to be separated in the legal system for prosecution. The other, a chain conspiracy, involves several parties involved in one singular group. The defendants are treated as responsible for the actions of each member of the group themselves.
Are There Any Possible Defenses?
Considering that there are many moving parts in a criminal conspiracy, there are several methods that a defense can take to combat the charge levied against them.
For one, Lack of Evidence. The prosecutors in a criminal investigation are required to provide definitive evidence that the defendant was involved in the conspiracy. Simply knowing one party involved in the conspiracy is not enough for the charge to be adequate.
Another is by disproving that any member of the group made an ‘overt act’ to carry out their criminal act. If the defense can prove that no attempts were made to complete said crime, this can nullify the charge. Other defenses can be found with consultation for your individual case, and we at The Bantner Firm would be happy to assist with your unique situation.