When thinking about crime, many people may think of a lone criminal perpetrating illegal actions. However, many crimes are committed when two or more people act together. When this occurs, the actions of the people involved in the commission of the crime are engaging in criminal conspiracy.
There are many reasons that people may act together to commit illegal actions. Some may choose this course of action to increase their chances of successfully completing their criminal plan. In other cases, some crimes are complex and elaborate and may require the cooperation of several individuals to execute a plan.
A bank robbery crime often results from criminal conspiracy because stealing from a financial institution is an offense that requires extensive planning and attention to detail. Whatever the reason, engaging in criminal conspiracy is a serious offense that is often punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Criminal Conspiracy Charges
According to the Texas Penal Code, there are several legal requirements that can be applied to a particular criminal case in order to bring a charge of conspiracy. These legal requirements are used by the prosecution in a criminal case to show that the accused individuals knowingly engaged in a conspiracy. The requirements are:
- Some type of agreement, whether verbal, written or otherwise, that is established between two or more people when they consent to engage in a criminal action.
- After agreeing to cooperate with one another, each member of the conspiracy must somehow demonstrate their willingness to carry out the crime in order for a conspiracy charge to apply.
- Finally, after agreeing to work together and demonstrating their commitment to the conspiracy, each member must commit some type of overt action that is intended to move the crime to completion.
The prosecution must submit evidence showing that an alleged member of a criminal conspiracy engaged in all three of these actions in order to bring a formal conspiracy charge against that member.
Defending Against Criminal Conspiracy Charges
Criminal conspiracy cases are unique in that there are specific actions that must be proven to charge a member of the alleged conspiracy. This means that a criminal conspiracy defense attorney has specific issues on which to base a sound legal defense.
If a criminal conspiracy defense attorney can submit evidence that shows that their client cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have engaged in all three of the conspiracy requirements, the conspiracy charges against the defendant may be reduced or dropped.
Also, a conspiracy defense attorney can attempt to show that their client had no knowledge of the alleged conspiracy or that their client withdrew from the conspiracy once they learned what was going on. Proving these facts can also result in dropped or reduced charges.