West Palm Beach Conspiracy Attorney
As part of our white collar criminal defense practice, the Skier Law Firm is proud to represent people accused of conspiracy. Conspiracy is both a federal and state crime, and our West Palm Beach conspiracy attorneys have experience with both. Because conspiracy covers a broad range of activity, it has become a favorite of prosecutors at both the federal and state level.
What is Conspiracy?
Both the federal and state laws are similar. Generally, a prosecutor must show that two or more people agreed to commit a criminal act. In some jurisdictions, at least one person must also have taken an overt act toward fulfilling the agreement, though this is not required by Florida’s law. As you can see from this definition, a defendant does not need to actually go through and commit the crime to be charged and convicted of conspiracy.
For example, two people might agree to sell cocaine on a certain day. After reaching agreement, one of the conspirators attempts to obtain cocaine so that it can be sold. The conduct just described is enough to sustain a conspiracy charge even though the two defendants never actually sold any drugs.
What are the Penalties for Conspiracy?
The penalties can be quite serious—especially considering that sometimes defendants never actually go through and commit the underlying offense. In Florida, the penalty will depend on the seriousness of the underlying offense. For example, if the offense severity level ranges from 3 to 10, then a conviction for conspiracy will warrant punishment one level lower. As an example, a crime might be a Level 6 offense. Conspiracy to commit that crime will be a Level 5 offense.
Are there Any Defenses?
Yes. Defendants are not powerless against a conspiracy charge. For example, many defendants have argued the following:
- There is not enough solid proof that the parties had reached an agreement to commit a crime. Tentatively talking about the possibility of something happening is usually not enough.
- There is inadequate proof of an intent to really commit the crime. Simply spinning stories about possibly committing a crime is not enough.
- The defendants did not agree to commit the same crime. For example, one person might want to rob a bank while the other only wants to apply fraudulently for a loan.
- The defendant was present at the scene of the crime but had no intent to participate. Simply observing a crime is not illegal.
- You withdrew from the conspiracy and took steps to frustrate it. In this case, you might not be convicted of conspiracy.
- You only aided and abetted the crime, which is not enough to infer a conspiracy (though aiding and abetting is itself a crime).
Each case is different. The proper defense will depend on the facts that the prosecutor has in his possession, as well as your own statements immediately after being arrested. At the Skier Law Firm, we perform a full review of all facts before deciding which defense will benefit you the most.
Charged with Conspiracy? Speak to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
Every criminal accusation must be taken seriously. At the Skier Law Firm, our team has represented countless criminal defendants against conspiracy and other charges. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the faster you can begin building a credible defense. We are available 24/7 to take your call.