If you interfere with or obstruct lawful governmental functions by craft, deceit or trickery while using dishonest means, you could face charges for conspiracy. The General Conspiracy Statute defines conspiracy as a situation where two or more people collaborate to commit an offense against the U.S. government or another official agency.
Charges of conspiracy can only be upheld if the court proves you entered into an agreement with another person to commit a crime. The court must also prove that criminal action occurred after you finalized the agreement to ensure the success of the initial plan.
The elements of criminal conspiracy
Most conspiracy cases feature two main elements, which include the agreement and the intent:
- The agreement—This agreement does not necessarily need to be in writing or even spoken. In certain criminal conspiracy cases, actions by each person can provide enough evidence to prove there was an existing agreement.
- The intent—Each person involved in the agreement must show they wanted to achieve a particular outcome. If intent exists, you can face charges for criminal conspiracy even if you did not actually commit a crime.
For example, if you and two other people decide to rob a bank, you may regularly collaborate, set up a plan and combine your funds. But even if you never actually rob the bank, you may face charges if law enforcement officials discover your plan.
Consequences for criminal conspiracy
Under the General Conspiracy Statute, you could face a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and the requirement to pay a fine of up to $250,000 for a felony offense. If the court convicts you of a misdemeanor offense, the penalties cannot exceed the maximum possible punishment for the misdemeanor crime committed. The court may also penalize you for other crimes you committed surrounding the conspiratorial agreement in addition to the punishment for conspiracy.