If you find yourself facing conspiracy charges, you may be unsure of what exactly that means and what the penalties are. The truth is, a court may charge you with conspiracy, even if no crime occurs.

Simply put, a conspiracy charge is appropriate when you conspire with one or more people to commit a crime, and then take active steps towards committing the crime. Even if the steps you take themselves are not illegal, the act of initiating a plan to commit a crime qualifies as a conspiracy.

Intention as a primary component

Simply associating with people who commit crimes does not make you a coconspirator. What does, however, is agreeing to commit crimes with those people. A conspiracy includes a combination of intention plus action towards an illegal act.

For example, you are not a coconspirator if your friend tells you that he or she is going to rob a bank. If you rent a car to help them complete the act, that is when you become an accomplice. Talking about renting the car still will not qualify as a crime until you put action forward to make the plan a reality.

Penalties for conspiracy charges

According to FindLaw experts, conspiracy charges may earn you up to five years in prison. If the crime you conspire to commit is a misdemeanor, your punishment is generally less severe than if it is a felony.

Conspiracy charges are not an either-or situation and may coincide with charges for the crime itself if you go through with it. This will earn you separate sentences and penalties for each offense.