A conspiracy generally is an agreement between two or more people to commit a criminal offense. When a conspiracy charge accompanies other criminal charges, the resulting penalties may be harsh. A Montgomery County conspiracy lawyer may be able to give you the advice that you need to combat criminal conspiracy charges.
Conspiracy charges frequently go along with drug charges and carry the same potential penalties. As a result, even if the evidence supporting the drug charge against you is weak, the prosecution still may be successful in convicting you of conspiracy. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may be able to examine your situation and determine the best defense strategy available to you in your case.
Criminal conspiracy occurs under 18 Pa. Con. Stat. § 903 when two or more individuals knowingly agree that least one of them is going to commit, attempt to commit, or solicit others to commit a crime.
Another situation that qualifies as a criminal conspiracy is when persons intentionally agree to assist others in planning, committing, attempting to commit, or soliciting someone else to commit a crime. A conspiracy still may exist even if the individuals are unaware of the identity of one or more other co-conspirators.
As a conspiracy lawyer in Montgomery County may note, proving a conspiracy charge does not only require proof of an agreement to commit a crime. A conspiracy also requires evidence of an overt act toward the commission of the crime by at least one co-conspirator.
Conspiracy charges also do not depend on the outcome of the crime. The fact that the crime never occurred, either because the attempt failed or law enforcement officers thwarted the offense, is irrelevant. A court may convict individuals of conspiracy even if the underlying crime never occurred.
Conspiracy charges are somewhat unusual, in that their penalties wholly depend on the penalties for the underlying criminal offense. In other words, individuals charged with conspiracy will face the same penalties as if they had committed the criminal offense that they conspired to commit. As a result, individuals may face very lenient or very severe penalties for a conspiracy conviction.
Therefore, if individuals had an agreement to carry out a burglary, and one of the individuals obtained the weapons and supplies necessary to break into a private residence to commit theft, then the individuals may face a conspiracy conviction. The penalties for that conviction would be equivalent to those that the persons would receive if they had committed the burglary.
Representation by a skilled attorney in Montgomery County can be crucial to avoiding the extraordinarily severe penalties that individuals may receive for a conspiracy conviction. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a conspiracy charge for committing retail theft of items worth less than $200 would carry the potential for only light sanctions.
While conspiracy to commit a minor offense may not result in significant penalties for individuals, conspiracy to commit a high-level felony offense can have devastating results. For a conspiracy to commit murder charge, for example, individuals could receive decades in prison, just as if they had committed a murder.
Although a conspiracy charge can have harsh results, you should know that you only can face a single conspiracy charge, even if your agreement involved an intent to commit multiple crimes. Defenses to conspiracy charges may be available, based on the circumstances surrounding your case. The advice of a Montgomery County conspiracy lawyer can be instrumental to your ability to mount an effective defense to conspiracy charges.
If you are facing a conspiracy charge along with other criminal charges, your best bet may be to contact legal counsel right away. Having legal representation from the outset of your case may be crucial to a more favorable outcome of the charges against you.