Let’s say two friends discuss robbing the house of a third person who they know will be away for the weekend. They pick a time to arrive at the house and purchase tools that will help them to break in. Before they can break in, they’re stopped for speeding and arrested when the police see the tools they brought with them in the backseat and are charged with conspiracy to commit a robbery.
In its most basic form, conspiracy is the agreement to commit a crime at some point in the future between two or more people. The actual act of the crime does not have to take place for conspiracy charges to be brought, only an overt act by one of the persons involved in the conspiracy. Conspiracy ranges from being classified as a B level misdemeanor up to being a Class A felony, meaning the punishment can range from 3 months in jail to a life sentence. Charges for conspiracy can be in the first through the sixth degree, depending on the criminal involvement. Call our team of experienced New York criminal defense attorneys today to discuss your options in fighting these charges.Levels of Conspiracy
At the lowest level of conspiracy charges, two or more persons must agree to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct that a crime is be performed. This charge is a misdemeanor, but can result in up to three months in jail. If the crime that is to be committed is a felony, or if one of the persons involved is over 18 while the other is under 16, the charges are still a misdemeanor but are punishable by up to a year in jail.
If a class B or C felony is to be performed by the agreement, an agreement is made to perform money laundering, or there is a class D or E felony to be committed involves a person over 18 involving a person under 16, you may be facing up to four years in jail as this is now a class E felony charge if convicted. If the felony involving the persons under 16 and over 18 and is a class B or C, maximum punishment could be 7 years in jail.
Finally, the most serious charges involve the potential crime being a class A felony, either will all conspirators being over 18, or at least one being over 18 and one under 16. If all the conspirators are legal adults, they may face up to 25 years in jail but if a minor is involved the sentence could be life in jail. This is, of course, specific to New York State, in regards to the levels and sentencing structure. Conspiracy is both a state and federal crime, but depending on what the conspiracy involved and if it includes multiple states, only the state that’s involved will usually bring the charges.Defenses
For example, if a person did not know that they were acting in furtherance of a crime, our defense team can help you in handling the charges. Using the example from above, if they asked a third friend to drive them to the house they were planning to rob, but did not tell them it they intended to rob the house, the friend driving would not be guilty of conspiracy. While there are defenses available that our team can help you with, it is not a defense to claim that one did not know that the actions one was engaging in were criminal. Call now to speak with one of our experienced New York criminal defense attorneys to discuss what options you have in handling these charges.