Photo of Scott C. Brown

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Criminal Law
  4.  » The imprecise nature of conspiracy charges

The imprecise nature of conspiracy charges

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2020 | Criminal Law |

Conspiracy charges can cover anything from counterfeiting and drug dealings to murder and bank robberies. By bringing these charges, West Virginia prosecutors can present a broader set of evidence than they can in other types of felony cases. We often represent clients swept up in an expansive conspiracy case and ensure the protection of their constitutional rights.

According to the Congressional Research Service, a conspiracy is an agreement of two or more people to participate in illegal conduct. Some laws require that the prosecutor has concrete evidence that at least one of the people involved in the scheme took overt action to complete the crime.

Conspiracy elements

The crime of conspiracy addresses the dangers posed to society when people get together for the purpose of committing a crime. Prosecutors must have evidence of the following elements before bringing these charges.

  • There is an agreement for a particular illegal activity
  • The agreement involves two or more people or organizations
  • The intent includes defrauding the U.S. Government or violating federal law
  • One or more overt acts move the scheme forward

Conspiracy penalties

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers state that conspiracy to commit a crime and the crime itself are separate charges. For a felony offense, the maximum fine is $250,000, and the maximum prison sentence is five years.

There are dozens of state and federal conspiracy statutes. Because of the broadly defined conspiracy laws, investigators can find and prosecute the brains behind a criminal plot. Circumstantial evidence may establish the agreement and encompass a variety of alleged participants who benefit from the illegal activity.