A federal conspiracy charge is a common tactic used by federal prosecutors, since it is a broad type of crime and can be used to leverage witness testimony against other defendants. Unfortunately for the defendant, federal conspiracy charges can be very difficult to defend. It is important to understand the nature of federal conspiracy charges, any possible defense options, and the penalties that are associated with this type of crime.
While the general assumption is that a conspiracy charge requires a large group of people to be involved in a criminal plot, the opposite is true. According to 18 U.S. Code § 371, conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States, prosecutors only need to prove that one individual entered into an agreement to commit a federal crime with a minimum of one other person, and that at least one of those people took a step towards that plan.
A charge of federal conspiracy is little more than two people entering into an agreement to commit a federal crime. The act to further the agreement needs to only be completed by one of the parties, and that act does not necessarily need to be criminal for the federal conspiracy charge to be warranted. In fact, it is not even necessary for the two individuals involved in the conspiracy to have ever met.
The consequences of such broad legalities surrounding federal conspiracy mean that the federal government can abuse their use of the law, and in some instances someone who had a very minor role in a conspiracy can be held responsible for the crimes of someone who held a much greater role.
Federal conspiracy charges should not be taken lightly even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. Under most circumstances, conspiracy charges can result in a felony conviction. Most federal districts punish conspiracy charges the same as the completed charge.
Even in situations where the resulting charge would be lesser, the defendant will have to experience the consequences of the completed charge, such as registering as a sex offender in a conspiracy to commit a sexual offense, or possibly be punished for the drug quantity of all of the members involved in a conspiracy to distribute drugs.
Locating a qualified, experienced federal defense lawyer will be your best defense against a federal conspiracy charge. If you have been indicted on federal conspiracy charges, you are going to need an attorney with the experience and knowledge to effectively fight for you. Tim Bower Rodriguez, PA will fight aggressively on your behalf to build an effective, strategic defense. Contact us to request your free initial consultation today.