Many people think they have to actually carry out a crime in order to face conspiracy charges, but that is not the case. Instead, merely planning a crime is enough for the federal government to charge you with conspiracy. Sometimes people find themselves facing conspiracy charges because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or they had an informal conversation that they never thought would lead to anything.
As terrifying as this situation is, you have legal options. Ronald S. Chapman has vigorously defended people charged with conspiracy in federal court for more than 30 years. The potential penalties are steep, so contact our West Palm Beach federal conspiracy defense lawyer today.
The federal government can charge you with conspiracy if you allegedly planned to commit a federal offense. Once charged, the federal government must prove that:
- You conspired with one or more people to commit a federal crime.
- You understood the purpose of the conspiracy and willingly participated.
Additionally, the federal government might also have to prove that at least one party took action to further the plot. However, that is not true for all federal conspiracy charges.
You can be charged with conspiracy if you enter into an agreement with another party to commit a federal crime. For example, bank robbery is a federal crime. Assume that Jack, John, and Joe create a plan to rob a local bank. Then Joe visits the location to check out the security, and John purchases a gun. All three could be charged with federal conspiracy even if they did not carry out the plan. Additionally, the three men will face the same charges, even though only two took steps to further the plan.
In this example, the men committed overt acts to further their plan. However, that is not always a requirement to be charged with federal conspiracy. For instance, the requirement is unnecessary if you are charged with conspiracy to commit drug trafficking. However, a lack of overt action can still aid your defense.
Withdrawing from a conspiracy is one possible defense to the charges. However, you must meet certain conditions for a successful defense. First, you have to demonstrate that you withdrew from the plan before the overt act took place. Second, you have to provide evidence to show that you fully withdrew and took steps to stop or renounce the conspiracy. If you stop participating but do not take some sort of action, you did not officially withdraw from the conspiracy in the eyes of the law.
This is just one possible defense strategy. So contact a West Palm Beach federal conspiracy defense lawyer to discuss your legal options and figure out which is the best strategy for you.