Conspiracy is a criminal charge that is brought against two or more people who have agreed to commit a crime. The parties involved need not all be actively involved in the commission of the crime, as it is enough for them merely to have agreed on it in advance.
If you or someone you care about has been accused of conspiracy, speak with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer right away to discuss your legal options. Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel has over 30 years of experience handling criminal matters such as conspiracy cases throughout South Florida.
What You Should Know About Conspiracy Crimes in Florida
State and federal prosecutors favor conspiracy charges because they can act as leverage during plea negotiations. This is because conspiracy charges can enhance penalties in ways that would otherwise be unachievable through individual charges. Defendants facing conspiracy charges will commonly be offered a better deal if they testify against their co-conspirators, which is what prosecutors are usually hoping to achieve.
The crimes associated with conspiracy are typically federal violations, often involving white-collar crimes or drug offenses, but conspiracy can be tried at either the state or federal level.
Federal Conspiracy Crimes
Conspiracy is prohibited at the federal level under 18 U.S.C. Section 371, which makes it illegal to agree with another person to devise a plan to defraud the United States government or violate another federal law. A person charged with any of the following federal offenses may face conspiracy charges if they worked with another person to commit or attempt to commit the crime:
- Drug trafficking or distribution
- Money laundering
- Mail or wire fraud
- Child pornography
It is not uncommon for there to be multiple defendants in conspiracy cases. Many times, the alleged participants have never even met each other. This is fairly common in federal drug cases where prosecutors believe the defendant played a larger part in the scheme than they actually did.
Conspiracy Crimes in Florida
Florida Statute Section 777.04 officially defines who could be convicted of conspiracy in Florida as any person who:
“…agrees, conspires, combines, or confederates with another person or persons to commit any offense commits the offense of criminal conspiracy…”
Often, prosecutors will tack on conspiracy charges in felony cases when they do not have much evidence that a defendant actually participated in a crime. However, those who are convicted of their crimes will face longer sentences if they are also found guilty of conspiracy.
Defending State and Federal Conspiracy Charges in South Florida
Conspiracy is a serious crime and one that can result in punishment that is often just as severe as if you had carried out the crime yourself, but only if you are convicted. First, the prosecution must successfully establish two elements beyond a reasonable doubt to prove your guilt. They are as follows:
You actually intended to commit the crime
You agreed with at least one other person to commit the offense yourselves or another party.
Defense strategies for conspiracy crimes typically involve one or more of the following:
- Lack of proof of an agreement
- No agreement to commit the same offense
- Mere presence at the crime scene
- Mere aiding and abetting
- Minimal involvement without agreement
A seasoned defense lawyer can conduct a thorough, independent examination of all of the facts of your case to determine the best route to take for your defense. Your attorney will work with you to inform you of your legal options and help you make the best decision for your specific situation.
Seek Qualified Legal Counsel If You Have Been Accused Of Conspiracy In Florida
If you are under investigation for participating in a conspiracy to commit a state or federal offense, now is the time to seek legal counsel to discuss your options. With over 30 years of experience, Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his career.
Start with a free consultation today by calling Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at (561) 622-5575. You can also complete an online contact form to learn more.