Washington DC Federal Conspiracy Lawyer

Federal conspiracy charges can result from many different situations. Although conspiracy is often thought of as “white-collar” crime, the government may charge someone with conspiracy in connection with anything from drug offenses to fraud to violent crimes.

Conspiracy charges are added onto charges for the underlying offenses, so they may substantially increase the potential penalties in a case. Moreover, someone may be convicted of a conspiracy even if any other planned criminal activity never takes place.

In light of this, it may be wise for anyone charged with conspiracy to understand how to protect their rights, as well as the many ways a Washington DC federal conspiracy lawyer could help them do so. A federal criminal defense attorney could start the process of collecting evidence to fight your charges and provide key advice, including information about how to avoid taking actions or making statements that could jeopardize the case.

Understanding Conspiracy

Simply put, a conspiracy is an agreement between at least two parties to commit a crime. Accordingly, federal conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an act that violates federal law.

Under common law, someone could not be convicted of conspiracy unless a member of the conspiracy has undertaken an “overt act” to further the scheme of the conspiracy. For instance, if two people conspired to rob a bank and one of them obtained plans showing underground access points to enter the bank, their agreement and the act taken toward commission of the robbery would be enough to constitute the crime of conspiracy.

The key fact to remember is that the act of agreeing to commit the crime is the actual crime itself when it comes to conspiracy. Even if the parties never undertake the criminal act they planned, the mere act of planning is itself a crime.

In some cases, prosecutors must show that one or more parties to the conspiracy took an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, but that is not always the case. A Washington DC federal conspiracy attorney could help clarify how this requirement may or may not influence a particular case.

Federal Conspiracy Statute

Federal conspiracy is often charged under 18 U.S. Code §371. This law establishes that when two or more people agree to commit a crime against the United States or defraud any federal agency, they may be found guilty of conspiracy if at least one of them undertakes “any act to effect the object of the conspiracy.”

As an experienced lawyer could further explain, the penalties for federal conspiracy in Washington DC depend on the severity of the illegal act planned by the conspirators. In many situations, each party to the conspiracy may be sentenced to up to five years in prison and be required to pay a fine of at least $5,000, or more if the planned offense is a felony or serious misdemeanor.

If the conspirators planned to commit a misdemeanor offense, the penalties for the conspiracy would be limited to those assessed for the underlying crime. So, if they conspired to commit a crime punishable by no more than two years in prison, then the maximum term of imprisonment that could be imposed for the conspiracy would be two years.

Talk to a Washington DC Federal Conspiracy Attorney Today

Conspiracy can be a difficult charge to defend because it takes so little to violate the law. What was said between parties, actions taken, and the intent of everyone involved can all play a key role.

It is usually a good idea to begin collecting and preserving evidence as soon as possible, as evidence often becomes harder to locate and less reliable as time passes. A Washington, DC federal conspiracy lawyer could assist with this process, as well as other actions to build a strong defense to the charges. For a consultation to learn how to best protect your rights, call now.