Conspiracy is defined as an agreement or plan made between two or more people to commit an unlawful act. The goal of the conspiracy usually involves depriving a person or entity of something of value with no intention of returning it. Even if the unlawful goal is not achieved, the agreement to act is still a crime.
Due to the nature of the conspiracies, they usually happen in secret. It is not necessary for every person involved to know every step of the plan. Even if a conspirator is only privy to selected parts, anyone who participates in the planning of the crime is considered guilty no matter how limited their role.
The common stages that perpetrators go through before committing a crime include:
- Coming up with the idea to commit an unlawful act
- Weighing the pros and the cons of committing that act
- Deciding whether or not to proceed with the crime
- Preparing a plan to commit the wrongdoing
- Launching the plan
- Completing the crime by achieving the intended illegal objective
The law does not punish people for having unlawful ideas or even refining ways to commit crimes as long as they don’t execute the plan; this is considered an “incomplete crime”. The law does punish people for actually following through with a plan and committing the illegal act.
Incomplete crimes may include:
- Conspiracy – two or more people who agree to commit a crime
- Attempting to commit a crime – the conspirators make an effort to follow through with the illegal act but are unsuccessful
- Solicitation – the act of recruiting, encouraging or forcing another person to engage in the proposed crime.
Although some believe that conspiracy is not penalized the same as the crime itself, this is not always the case. In most jurisdictions, conspirators are punished according to the seriousness of the wrongdoing. If the goal of the agreement was to commit a misdemeanor, the conspiracy is punished as a misdemeanor. However, if the goal of the conspiracy was to commit a felony, than it is punished as a felony.
If you have been charged with conspiracy, it is import that you seek legal advice as quickly as possible. Our team of legal professionals can help you to defend your case and protect your rights. Haley Law Firm, LLC can give you the help you need. Call today to set up a free consultation.