Conspiracy is a crime that Prosecutors often allege if they believe more than one person was involved in carrying out, or even just planning, a crime. Conspiracy is agreeing with another person to commit a crime. Since the crime of conspiracy requires agreement but not action, someone could be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery even if the alleged robbery never happened.
If a prosecutor has charged you with criminal conspiracy, you could face financial penalties and prison time, even if the crime you were charged with conspiring to commit never happened. One of our knowledgeable Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert could vigorously defend against the charges and force prosecutors to establish every element of a conspiracy charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
What Do Prosecutors Have to Prove?
A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a specific crime. It is not necessary that the alleged conspirators take any other steps toward completing their plan; the fact that they agreed to commit a crime together makes it a conspiracy. It also is not necessary that the alleged conspirators be the ones who commit the crime. It is still conspiracy even if someone else carried out the plan.
A Prosecutor must show that the people agreed to commit a crime and that they intended to commit the crime. The evidence of an agreement and of intent can be circumstantial. The Prosecution does not need to have a written agreement between the alleged conspirators or witness testimony about their agreement. Similarly, the Prosecution does not need to offer concrete evidence of intent.
This leaves room for a savvy criminal defense Attorney to counter the Prosecution’s arguments. Circumstances that the Prosecution presents to “prove” agreement or intent may be interpreted in other ways. A persuasive Lawyer could offer these different interpretations to persuade the prosecutors not to pursue a conspiracy charge. If those attempts are unsuccessful, presenting the alternative theories might seed reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds.
Penalties for Conspiracy Conviction
Whether a person serves time in jail or not, any criminal conviction is a serious matter in Florida. People who have criminal convictions on their records face life-long housing and job discrimination and are barred from certain occupations. A skilled criminal defense Attorney might help the client avoid the more serious consequences associated with the original charges.
The seriousness of a conspiracy charge relates to the severity of the crime the person allegedly was planning to commit, and the penalties also vary accordingly.
Florida Statute Title XLVII, § 921.0022 ranks the seriousness of crimes on a scale from Level 1 (least serious) to Level 2 (most serious). A charge of conspiracy to commit any of these crimes is assessed a rank that is one level below the level of the underlying crime.
If the underlying crime is Level 1 or 2, the conspiracy charge will be a Misdemeanor and penalties might range from fines and restitution, probation, and time in county jail. If the underlying crime is level 3 or above, conspiracy is a Felony, and penalties could include hefty fines and prison time, depending on the circumstances.
Schedule a Consultation with a Greenacres Conspiracy Attorney Today
Conspiracy charges might imply to a Jury that the alleged conspirators are part of a criminal network or gang. Often, that is not the case at all. Prosecutors sometimes use conspiracy as a lever to enhance other criminal charges and achieve longer prison sentences for convicted offenders.
Conspiracy should not be a catch-all charge that prosecutors add to make a case look more serious to a Jury. An assertive criminal defense Attorney at Leifert & Leifert could force the prosecutor to prove all the specific elements of the crime and increase the client’s chances of exoneration. Contact a Greenacres conspiracy Lawyer to help you build a strong defense strategy.