Some Basics on Conspiracy Crimes
Conspiracy occurs when at least two people agree to commit a crime. When charged with the crime of conspiracy, you need to work with a qualified conspiracy crime attorney because the penalties of the crime can be quite severe. Immediately after being charged with conspiracy, you need to discuss your case with an experienced attorney so they can prepare a strong defense for your case. Failure to do so can have devastating effects. If convicted of conspiracy, you risk spending up to life imprisonment, depending on the specifics of your case.
How Does the Prosecution Prove Conspiracy?
Before you can be convicted of conspiracy, the prosecution needs to prove some crucial elements. First, the prosecution needs to prove the involvement of at least two people. Second, the prosecution must prove that the two or more people involved intended to commit a crime. The people involved must also have been aware of the intention to commit a crime. Finally, depending on the case, the prosecution might need to prove that at least one person in the group committed an overt action to further the plan.
It is crucial to note that the prosecution can still prove conspiracy even if the intended crime was not accomplished. Therefore, even when you agree to commit a crime, then try to commit the crime and fail, you can still be charged with conspiracy. Generally, conspiracy is a crime on its own, even when the intended crime is not completed. Additionally, even if you;
- joined the group after everyone else had joined,
- did not know every conspirator, and
- did not fully understand how the intended crime was going to be accomplished
You could still be charged with conspiracy. As long as you were aware of a common purpose, you risk facing hefty penalties for the crime of conspiracy.
Nonetheless, the mere fact that a person associates with conspirators or is present at the scene of a crime does not automatically mean they are guilty of conspiracy. For you to be guilty of conspiracy, the prosecution needs to prove that you associated with conspirators knowing they were conspirators. If you are found at a crime scene, the prosecution needs to prove that you knew about the crime.
If you are part of a group of conspirators, it is not too late to save yourself. You can withdraw from the group and wash your hands before things get out of control. Once you separate yourself from the group, you will most likely not be held criminally responsible for any action the remaining conspirators take.
How New York Treats the Different Degrees of Conspiracy Crimes
New York recognizes six degrees of conspiracy crimes. A judge declares an individual guilty of a certain degree of conspiracy crime depending on the involved crime and whether the group of conspirators includes anyone under sixteen.
Below is a breakdown of the potential jail terms associated with each degree of conspiracy crime.
- First-degree – can result in life imprisonment.
- Second-degree – up to 25 years
- Third-degree – up to 7 years
- Fourth-degree – up to 4 years
- Fifth-degree – up to 1 year
- Sixth-degree – up to 1 year
Contact an NYC Conspiracy Crime Attorney