Almost everyone has less-than-honest thoughts from time to time. While you may never act on your thoughts, there are situations when thinking and talking about committing a crime can result in conspiracy charges.
To be charged with conspiracy, there are certain elements that must be present. Keep reading to learn what these are to know when you have crossed a line and committed a crime.
What is a conspiracy?
Cases of conspiracy occur if two or more individuals create an agreement to break the law, and then they act on this agreement. In a conspiracy charge, it’s not just those who commit a crime that is prosecuted in many cases. The laws in place allow the authorities to find the “brain” of the operation and prosecute them, as well.
The elements of conspiracy
To be charged with conspiracy, all the elements must be present. These include:
- Two or more people are involved
- There’s a mutual agreement to commit a crime
- The agreement is made knowingly
- At least one party to the agreement acts on the plan in some way
Put simply, it must be proven that two or more individuals made an agreement to commit a crime and someone moves to make that happen.
What is the penalty for conspiracy?
On a federal level, the maximum punishment for conspiracy is no more than five years in jail and fines of up to $250,000 for felony offenses. You may also be charged with a misdemeanor, which would carry different penalties.
Your rights when charged with conspiracy
If you are charged with conspiracy, it’s up to the prosecution to prove all the elements listed above to get a conviction. It’s smart to know your legal rights to ensure that you have the best chance of the desired outcome for your case.