The term conspiracy often conjures images of secret meetings and intricate plans. What exactly constitutes a conspiracy to commit a crime? Here is what you need to know.
You can face conspiracy charges if you agree with one or more individuals to commit a crime and take at least one step toward executing your plans. It doesn’t matter whether the actual commission of the intended crime occurs or whether you were directly involved in that commission.
The elements of criminal conspiracy
The agreement to break the law is at the core of a criminal conspiracy. It can be explicit or implied and doesn’t necessarily have to be formal or in writing. This can be established through spoken or non-verbal communication or even via your actions.
Another crucial aspect of conspiracy is the shared intent to commit a specific criminal act. Associating with criminals does not make you a conspirator. All participants must know about the illegal objective and actively work towards its realization.
Lastly, either you or one of the individuals involved must have taken an overt act or a significant step in pursuance of the agreement to commit the crime. For instance, if you plan to rob a bank, an overt act would be sourcing guns or a getaway car since it’s a material part of the plan.
How serious is a conspiracy charge?
A conspiracy charge in Texas is a serious matter. If convicted, you may face penalties that range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the nature and severity of the crime. In addition, Texas law treats conspiracy as a separate offense, meaning that you could face multiple charges for the same offense.
Seek necessary guidance
Several defenses can be raised against a conspiracy charge, such as a withdrawal from the agreement before the completion of the crime or before an overt act to execute the plans, entrapment by law enforcement to join or participate in the planning and execution or lack of evidence proving someone’s alleged role in the conspiracy.
If you are accused of conspiracy, you should seek legal guidance and representation as soon as possible. Making this effort can go a long way in helping you to understand your rights and options, challenging the evidence against you and presenting your best defense in court to increase the chances of a positive outcome.