Why do federal prosecutors charge defendants with criminal conspiracy? What can you do if you or a loved one faces severe penalties and jail time for allegedly being part of a conspiracy?
A prosecutor pursues these serious charges to punish individuals who planned to commit a federal crime. According to the law, the plan in question must exist between two people who have a spoken, written, or engaged in an unspoken agreement. The charges may stick as long as the prosecutor proves you worked with someone to commit a crime, even if there is no proof of a written agreement.
What Exactly Does Criminal Conspiracy Mean?
By definition, a conspiracy is any time two or more people "conspire to commit any offense against the United States." It can also describe an attempt to defraud the United States or any government entity. For example, if you and your friend make a plan to rob a bank, buy a firearm, and ride to the location of that bank, officials may file criminal conspiracy charges against you. In this case, guilt is determined by proving intent, even if you decided not to commit the crime.
Consequences for Criminal Conspiracy Charges
A criminal conspiracy charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony, and it typically results in severe sentencing. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you may face up to five years in prison. If convicted of a felony, the court may sentence you up to ten years in prison and impose fines up to $5,000.
You may face these charges (and a significant minimum sentence) even if you played a very small role in the conspiracy.
Appropriate and Strategic Defenses
The prosecutor must prove you voluntarily consented to your role in the crime. One defense is to prove you did not know you helped plan the crime or otherwise unknowingly participated in it.
In drug cases, which are rather common, a good defense seeks to prove law enforcement illegally conducted the search and seizure. Perhaps the officer needed a warrant and failed to get one. Thus, the search that led to your arrest was unlawful. Your attorney will need to examine the facts surrounding your case and identify any area where police conduct may have been unauthorized.
If state or federal officials charged you with criminal conspiracy, attorney J. Patrick Quillian and his team can help defend your rights and provide peace of mind during this difficult and scary time for you and your family. Contact the Oklahoma City Legal Group today for a confidential consultation about your next steps.