You may have heard the term “conspiracy” thrown around on the news or a show like Law and Order before, but if you’re like most people, you probably aren’t 100 percent sure what these kinds of arrests really mean. Generally, people tend to assume that conspiracy charges can only stem from being a significant part of a big criminal scheme, but in reality, just having a conversation with another person who is under investigation for a crime can sometimes lead to conspiracy charges.
You see, conspiracy charges can stem from any act “in furtherance of a crime.” Simply giving advice on where people can sell or purchase drugs or giving directions to a place where a crime can be (and then is) committed can be considered furthering that crime. The action itself does not have to be illegal, nor does your participation in any conspiracy have to be a substantial step in the commission of the actual offense to lead to charges.
What Exactly Is Enough to Lead to Conspiracy Charges?
According to the law, generally the prosecution has to prove three things in order to substantiate conspiracy charges:
- You entered into some kind of agreement related to a criminal action.
- The agreement was with at least one other person and all co-conspirators were aware of the crime.
- At least one of those people committed an overt act to further the agreement.
Under this, you don’t have to have actually done anything at all to aid in the attempted crime. If you discuss becoming drug lords with a friend and then they take the first steps towards making it happen, you could be charged with conspiracy. Unless you can prove were kidding or that the “agreement” was never actually made, those conspiracy charges could be filed even though you did nothing illegal.
To the police and prosecutors, it sometimes makes little difference whether or not you actually intended to commit a crime. Even if you were completely unaware of a crime happening, sometimes you can be charged with conspiracy. A common example is when you are in a car found to contain illegal drugs. Often police will charge all passengers with conspiracy unless can demonstrate that you were totally uninvolved. In these cases, an experienced Columbus criminal attorney can help.
Conspiracy charges may seem like no big deal, since they often are based off of minor actions or even simply a conversation, but in reality, they carry serious consequences. Often these crimes are charged at one level below the original crime (e.g. a conspiracy to commit a 1st degree felony is usually considered a Felony 2) and can sometimes carry up to the same sentence as the main crime to be carried out. That’s why you need to take these accusations seriously and get the assistance of a defense lawyer who knows conspiracy law well. If you are suspected of conspiracy with any crime, call the lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (614) 500-3836 for a free consultation on your case. Our Columbus criminal attorneys will fight for best outcome for your case possible, including to get the charges dropped and to clear your name.