Conspiracy is a unique offense and one that can be confusing. It is prohibited by both state and federal law and may be prosecuted under either one, depending on the circumstances.
Although criminal conspiracy involves more than just planning, it is a crime that an individual can commit without being aware of it. More importantly, in a conspiracy case, an individual’s liability can extend far beyond their involvement in the scheme. The complexity of such a case should only be left to the experience of a Grand Rapids conspiracy attorney.
If you are facing criminal charges that include conspiracy, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Grand Rapids criminal attorney who can help you understand what is involved in the case and help work toward the best outcome. A knowledgeable lawyer can mount a strong defense to help lessen or dismiss any penalties associated with the charge.
Simply put, conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to either commit a crime or to commit a legal act in an illegal manner.
In addition to planning the crime, one of the conspiring parties must generally make one overt act toward the commission of the crime, but that act may be quite minimal and the other parties to the conspiracy may not even know about it.
Conspiracy charges often arise in connection with illegal drug cases which are frequency prosecuted under federal law. These prosecutions can be effectively defended using a Grand Rapids conspiracy attorney.
Generally, the penalty for the crime of conspiracy is the same as the penalty for the crime which the parties planned to commit. For example, if three individuals planned to break into a store to steal gold jewelry worth several thousand dollars, they would be planning a felony burglary.
If one of them makes an overt act toward committing that burglary such as renting a vehicle to use as the “getaway car,” then all three could be found guilty of conspiring to commit a burglary and face the same felony jail time as if they had followed through with the burglary.
For that reason, prosecutors can use the charge of conspiracy when circumstances do not warrant prosecution for the full underlying crime and still seek maximum penalties but a conspiracy lawyer in Grand Rapids can help.
In addition, someone found to be part of a conspiracy can be held liable for the reasonably foreseeable actions of other members of the conspiracy, even if they did not participate in those actions or even agree to be a part of them. This can lead to a serious increase in the charges levied against an individual.
For instance, someone charged with possession of a controlled substance who is then charged with conspiracy may then be charged with distribution if one of the co-conspirators has been charged with distribution.
Many defenses can be raised in conspiracy cases through the use of a knowledgeable Grand Rapids conspiracy attorney, and merely being in the same location as other conspirators at the time of a conspiracy is not sufficient to prove guilt. Among other things, an individual may argue they:
Because a person’s state of mind is such an important element in a conspiracy case, all statements made by those involved in a potential conspiracy case become very important.
To avoid having a statement misunderstood, it is essential to consult with a Grand Rapids conspiracy lawyer right away during any investigation involving a possible conspiracy charge.
A knowledgeable conspiracy attorney in Grand Rapids can help you understand the procedure involved and work toward building the best defense for the circumstances involved in your case.