What Are Conspiracy Charges?
Conspiracy charges fall under a set of statutes known as initiatory crimes. Essentially, you are facing the same criminal penalties as the individual being charged for the committing the crime. For example, conspiracy murder charges mean that you through words or acts agreed that the crime would be committed and that you intended for it to occur. Regardless of whether you personally committed the crime.
Even if an individual intends for a lower level crime to occur and another higher-level crime occurs, he or she may be charged with conspiracy for the higher-level crime. An example of this would be an agreement to commit a robbery and while committing the robbery a murder is committed.
Even if a crime did not occur, it is still possible to receive conspiracy charges at the state or federal level. They are very serious, which means that you should get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer for Española, New Mexico as soon as possible.
We can protect your rights and devise a defensive strategy that seeks to get your charges reduced or dismissed. In this post, I discuss the types of crimes associated with conspiracy charges, how the courts look at conspiracy matters, and what penalties you may face if convicted.
What Types of Crimes Are Commonly Associated with Conspiracy Charges?
Since conspiracy penalties equate to the actual crime committed, they are some of the most serious that you may face. A criminal conviction carries a negative impact on your life long-term since severe penalties are on the line.
Examples of conspiracy charges may include:
- Conspiracy to Commit drug trafficking
- Conspiracy to Commit murder
- Conspiracy to Commit burglary
- Conspiracy to Commit kidnapping
- Conspiracy to Commit robbery
- And more
As you can see, getting caught up in someone else’s poor choices can become a significant problem for you. Do not wait to get the advice of a criminal defense lawyer near you so that you do not face prosecutors alone. If they believe you committed a conspiracy crime, they have the ability to prosecute you to the fullest extent possible.
What Elements Do Criminal Courts Look at in Conspiracy Crimes?
While the act of conspiring is not necessarily a crime, the courts will look at several elements to determine if you knew about the plan with at least one other person and set out to break the law. As such, there are a few elements that the prosecution must prove for you to receive a conviction.
The elements courts consider include:
- Agreement: The first element for the prosecutors to demonstrate is that there were two co-conspirators in agreement. An agreement does not have to be explicit since communications alone can lead to implications.
- Intent: Intent is a critical aspect. If you did not intend to commit a crime, you cannot be convicted for it. Simply associating with alleged criminals does not make you a co-conspirator or imply intent, so just being around someone who was involved in felony crime standing alone does not make you guilty of conspiracy.
- Overtness: At least one member of the alleged “conspiracy” must take at least some concrete steps forward to execute the agreement. The overt acts requirement prevents innocent people from being prosecuted for merely discussing potential crimes or making jokes.
The burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the prosecutorial team. Make sure that you fight back against their accusations by hiring a legal defense team. Do not make any statements or think that if you cooperate it will simply go away. Hiring an experienced and reputable criminal defense team is the best way to make sure you are protecting your future.
How Do Courts Punish Conspiracy Convictions?
There are two types of conspiracy charges you can face in New Mexico: state and federal. Federal conspiracy charges may be pursued under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. RICO convictions are punishable by up to twenty (20) years in prison plus fines.
However, at the state level, you can receive a conviction for both the underlying crime and the conspiracy to commit it. As such, you will receive separate punishments for specific offenses upon conviction.
Under NMSA § 30-28-2 (1978), a conspiracy is punishable as follows:
- If the highest crime committed is capital or a first-degree felony, the conspirator is guilty of a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to nine (9) years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
- If the highest crime committed is a second-degree felony, the conspirator is guilty of a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to three (3) years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
- If the highest crime committed is a third-degree felony, the conspirator is guilty of a fourth-degree felony, which is punishable by up to eighteen (18) months in prison and fines of up to $5,000.
(New Mexico does not have a Conspiracy charge for Misdemeanor Crimes.)
There is too much at stake to leave your life to chance. If there is not enough evidence to convict you, then you should not stand by idly. Get legal help now to provide the best fighting chance possible at getting your charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced.
Facing Conspiracy Charges? Call Grano Law Offices, P.C. for a Free Case Strategy Session
If you are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, hire a reliable and tough criminal defense attorney for Española who is not afraid to fight back against prosecutors. Prospective clients facing conspiracy charges may contact Grano Law Offices, P.C. for a FREE CASE STRATEGY SESSION to get the help you want.
My office also offers remote access availability, including secure video chat, email, telephone, and text messaging.