Facing criminal charges can be a lifechanging event. Therefore, it is important for those facing criminal charges to fully understand what they are up against.
Some may view conspiracy charges as less serious than other crimes; however, this outlook is incorrect. A conspiracy charge is a serious criminal offense, and there are a few key things to know about it.
What it is
According to the law, criminal conspiracy occurs when a party comes into agreement with another party in regards to committing a crime. This can be any type of crime, and the accussed party does not have to be fully involved in the execution of the crime. In fact, even if the accussed is not involved in any part of physically committing the crime, if the party contributed to furthering the success of the crime in any way, be it creating the idea or possibly hiding evidence of the crime, a conspiracy charge may apply.
The type and degree of penalties for cospiracy charges can vary. For instance, crimes that involve violent activity may result in harsher penalties than those that cause damage or loss to property. However, conspiracy charges usually result in penalties such as fines, jail time or a combination of the two.
The proving process
The prosecution must prove the conspiracy charges. To accomplish this, they must prove two assertions:
- The defendant entered into an agreement about the crime with at least one other party.
- One party’s actions furthered the fulfillment of the crime they agreed upon.
It is important to understand that the success of the crime is not relevant to criminal conspiracy charges. If the prosecution can show that the defendant willfully agreed to the committing of the crime in some way, and any party within the agreement acted in a way to fulfill the crime, the charges may stand.
Understanding the different elements of a conspiracy charge can aid parties in determining the best course of action. It may also be beneficial for them to consult with their attorney and become familiar with the law in full.