Proving DC Conspiracy Cases

If you face conspiracy charges, you should not risk handling this case yourself. Prosecutors know the most effective methods of proving DC conspiracy cases, and they will work tirelessly for a conviction. Speak with a qualified DC conspiracy lawyer who could stand by you through the resolution of your case.

Elements of a Conspiracy Charge

Proving DC conspiracy cases requires three main elements:

  • Agreement between one or more individuals to carry out a particular crime
  • Conspirators have specific intent to commit the objective of the conspiracy
  • Commission of an overt act by one of the conspirators taken in furtherance of the crime

In a conspiracy case, prosecutors must prove that an agreement existed to commit a criminal offense, but they do not need to have a formal plan written with all the details worked out.

The second element prosecutors must prove is that the person being charged with the crime, the defendant, intentionally joined the agreement. The prosecutors do not necessarily need to prove that the defendant agreed to every single detail of the crime or knew all the other people involved in the agreement.

The third element the prosecutors need to prove is that one of the people involved in the conspiracy did something for the purpose of carrying out the conspiracy. This is the element referred to as the overt act. Prosecutors must prove that at least one of the people involved in the conspiracy committed an overt act in continuance of the conspiracy.

Proving Intent

To prove intent, prosecutors must show that the person understood the unlawful nature of the plan and voluntarily joined into it with the intent of advancing the object of the conspiracy. That means an individual cannot be convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime just for being present while an agreement is being reached or by being friends with the people involved. The person being charged needs to understand the agreement and intentionally join it with the purpose of furthering the conspiracy.

It is not enough for a defendant to unknowingly act in a way that helps people in an agreement to commit a crime. For example, it is not enough for a person to purchase a lock-picking kit without knowing that other people plan on using it to commit a burglary. That does not mean the defendant intentionally joined into the agreement, because they did not know their actions would ultimately assist in criminal activity.

Unjust Conspiracy Accusations

Because conspiracy does not require that prosecutors prove the completion of a crime, conspiracy cases sometimes rely heavily on facts and circumstances surrounding the agreement. For example, a person could be with a group of friends who are discussing the commission of a crime, but they never participated in the agreement or intentionally engaged in it. That could result in the person being unjustly linked with others due to their associations, friendships, or family circumstances.

Being around others who are discussing the commission of a crime is not in and of itself a crime. Prosecutors might cast overly wide nets and bring people into a conspiracy because they had specific tattoos, hung out with certain people, or attended an event where other people were engaged in a conspiratorial agreement. It is important for defense attorneys to look closely at these kinds of associations because prosecutors make assumptions about what the associations mean. They might charge people with crimes because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or were around the wrong people.

Letting a DC Conspiracy Attorney Work for You

Because proving DC conspiracy cases can be difficult, a criminal lawyer could have many possible defense strategies available. A DC conspiracy lawyer could examine the evidence and facts of your situation and exploit any weakness in the prosecution’s case. Reach out to a qualified attorney today to discuss your future.