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Conspiracy: The Punishment of Collaboration

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, drug crimesUnder Wisconsin law, conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more persons with the intent to violate the law. To be convicted of conspiracy, it has to be shown that an act was taken to further the goals of the conspiracy. Likewise, the same elements need to be proven under federal law.

Conspiracy boils down to a very simple concept. A conspiracy begins when one person agrees with one or more persons to commit a crime. As soon as any single member in the agreement takes a step towards carrying out the crime, the agreement becomes a conspiracy. This step is called an overt act and it does not matter how minimal it is. It does not matter if the overt act is a crime; further, even if you do not commit the overt act, you could still be charged with conspiracy.

For example, say you entered into an agreement with two co-conspirators, B and C, to rob a grocery store owner. B purchases a knife to threaten the owner of the grocery store. C steals a car to escape the grocery store at the time of the crime. You were on your way to meet B at the grocery store, but you were hit by a bus and taken to the hospital. B and C go to the grocery store, rob the owner and escape in the stolen car. You could be charged with conspiracy, even though you did not commit an overt act nor were you present when the crime was committed. The simple fact that you entered into an agreement to violate the law and a member to that agreement took an overt act to commit the violation, exposes you to criminal conspiracy charges.

If you, or someone you know, has been accused of participating in a conspiracy, you should consult with an experienced conspiracy defense lawyer to provide you with effective legal defense against conspiracy charges.

The Punishment for Conspiracy

The severity of punishment for conspiracy depends on the crime the conspirators intended to commit. Conspiracy can accompany a wide variety of charges, including, but not limited to, organized crime, white collar crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism. For example, under federal law, if you are charged with conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine, you could face anywhere from five years to 40 years in prison and fined up to $10 million on your first offense. Likewise, if you are charged with conspiring to commit rape, which is a Class B felony under Wisconsin law, you could face up to 60 years in prison.

Battling Conspiracy Charges

In order to defeat a conspiracy charge, you will need to prove that you were either not involved in the conspiracy at all or that the crime the conspiracy intended to commit did not occur. This is proven by showing that there was no agreement, that you effectively withdrew from the conspiracy or that the overt act required to officially create a conspiracy did not occur.

It is clear that the penalties for conspiracy can vary greatly depending on the crime committed. You will need the assistance of an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney to identify the potential penalties you face and how to effectively deal with them.

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