Facing a charge of criminal conspiracy can naturally be unsettling. The whirlwind of thoughts swimming in your head may include how the charge will affect your reputation and especially your future.
Fortunately, even if you face a federal conspiracy charge in New York, this does not automatically mean you committed a crime. Prosecutors have to prove that you engaged in criminal activity before a conviction can happen.
What is criminal conspiracy?
Criminal conspiracy happens when you and another person or other individuals agree to take part in any illegal act and then take action to complete it. The action you have taken does not necessarily have to be a criminal act in and of itself. However, it has to indicate that you and the other parties knew about the plan and planned to violate the law.
For instance, perhaps you and two others plan to rob a bank. You pay a visit to the facility to determine how they handle security. Then, you pool your money to purchase a weapon together. Finally, you create a written demand letter. In this situation, all three of you may face a conspiracy charge related to committing robbery, even if you never went through with the robbery.
What penalties could I face?
If you are convicted of conspiracy, you can expect stiff penalties, including time behind bars. If you conspired to commit a crime and then committed it, you may face punishments for both. In addition, in some situations, if you face a conviction for conspiring to participate in a felony, you might have to serve a required minimum sentence.
What are my rights?
After facing a conspiracy charge, you have the right to proceed to trial to fight the charge. An experienced attorney can scrutinize the evidence that the prosecution plans to provide to support the charge in an effort to find holes in their case and to determine the best possible criminal defense strategy for your circumstances.
If the weight of the prosecution's evidence appears heavy, you may decide to seek to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution rather than going to trial. The benefit of a plea agreement is that it might lead to a lighter charge and thus a more lenient sentence than what might result from a guilty verdict at trial. Your attorney will ensure your rights are protected while pushing for the most personally favorable outcome for you in light of the circumstances surrounding your case.