Clearwater Conspiracy Charge Lawyer
Conspiracy charges involve a scheme to commit some illegal act. Often, the punishment for a conspiracy charge can be just as harsh as if you successfully pulled off the crime. In this article, we’ll discuss conspiracy charges and how a Clearwater conspiracy charge lawyer at King Law Group can protect your future.
What is a conspiracy charge?
The charge of conspiracy is used by prosecutors against people who have agreed to commit a particular crime even if they are caught prior to actually attempting to commit that crime. One of the more well recognized forms of conspiracy is the conspiracy to commit murder; however, any crime that can be charged can also be charged as conspiracy to commit that crime. This means the government does not have to necessarily prove you committed a crime in order to get a conviction. All they must prove is correspondence between you and another individual to commit the crime.
There are two elements to a conspiracy prosecution. First is an agreement between two or more people. Second is intent to commit a crime. That’s it. The State of Florida does not need to prove you took any act in furtherance of the crime as they would be expected to under federal law. However, unless the State has evidence that the individual fully committed the crime, the defendant can claim they were going to back out and never really intended to commit the crime. Since the standard of proof in criminal cases remains very high, not having evidence of the Defendant doing anything in furtherance of a crime becomes a serious barrier to prosecution.
The no agreement defense
Since the agreement to commit a crime is the definition of conspiracy, the State must present proof that there was, in fact, an agreement. In cases where the prosecution doesn’t have a videotape of a handshake between the two co-conspirators, the prosecution may present evidence that the conspiracy can be inferred through the conduct of the defendants. Nonetheless, the prosecution’s theory of the case must mutually exclude any defense theory as to what happened. If it doesn’t, then the State cannot prove conspiracy.
The mere presence defense
If you’re merely present at a crime scene, you cannot be charged with conspiracy. As an example, a man who is overseeing the transfer of materials may not know that the materials are illegal drugs. Unless the State can prove he does know the materials are illegal, he is not aiding in a criminal act. Knowledge and intent remain the key elements to a conspiracy conviction.
Penalties for conspiracy
The statutory penalties for conspiracy depend on what crime someone conspired to commit. The level of charge for conspiracy will be one degree lower than the underlying crime. For example, the sale of a controlled substance is a second-degree felony. If someone was caught and charged with conspiracy to sell a controlled substance, their charge would be a third-degree felony. Although the degree of the offense is lower, the penalties could still involve significant prison time.
Find a Clearwater Conspiracy Charges Lawyer
Facing conspiracy charges? Call King Law Group today and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.