Helping to understand conspiracy charges

While criminal charges require some element that proves the accused broke the law, not all crimes are based on the same elements. Additionally, not all crimes can be charged if an individual is accused of the crime. For example, in order to face a criminal conspiracy charge, two or more people must be a part of the presumed illegal act.

Criminal conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit an unlawful act, taking some form of action towards the completion of the unlawful act. While the act itself must be illegal, the actions taken towards its completion do not need to be illegal order for a conspiracy charge to result.

The actions taken to further the illegal act, however, must indicate that those involved in the conspiracy had knowledge of the plan and also intended to break the law. In order for a conviction to occur, prosecutors must prove two major elements. First, there is a requirement for an agreement. This means that strong evidence must exist to prove that and agreement was made among two or more people. Second, the element of intent must be proven. Not only do the parties of a conspiracy need to intend to agree but they must also intend to achieve the outcome.

One should note that it is possible to be charged with the conspiracy to commit a crime as well as the completed crime. While both of these crimes derive from and are based on the same circumstances, the crimes do not merge and are treated separately. Thus, it is important to understand this circumstance and what penalties and consequences could result if a defendant is convicted of one or both crimes.

Those facing drug conspiracy crimes should take the time to fully understand this matter. While it can appear to be complex, this does not mean a strong criminal defense strategy is not possible. Taking the time to assert your rights could help a defendant reduce or even dismiss the charges against them.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Conspiracy," Accessed Dec. 4, 2017

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