All the best cartoon sleuths catch the villains before they carry out their dastardly plans. However, the villain still gets taken away by the police. If the authorities consider you were planning to commit a crime, they can charge you with conspiracy to commit the crime.
To be charged with conspiracy, you need to fulfill specific criteria:
- A conspiracy needs more than one person: By definition, you cannot conspire to commit a crime alone. That is why the word starts with “co.”
- There needs to have been preparations for the crime: The law requires you or one of your conspirators to take an “overt act,” an act in preparation for the crime. Sitting chatting about the one final bank heist you dream of pulling off so you can retire to The Bahamas is not enough to be accused of conspiracy. Stealing the diamond coring rig needed to drill through the solid concrete wall of a bank probably is.
- You need to be intending to commit a crime: Your intent to commit a crime is key; being involved in a crime without your knowledge is not intent. For example, if your girlfriend asks you to pick her up outside the bank at 3:30 p.m., that does not prove intent on your part. If your girlfriend asks you to pick her up outside the bank at 3:30 p.m., keep the car running, watch out for any police and wear a balaclava, it may be harder to argue you did not know about the bank robbery.
If you face a conspiracy charge, it is essential to know what legal defenses you have available.