For the purposes of criminal law, a conspiracy describes any situation in which two or more people agree to commit an unlawful act. Courts can impose conspiracy charges even if the group does not complete the intended act.
Review the factors in federal conspiracy charges when facing this type of sentence.
Elements of conspiracy
For a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant had an agreement to commit a criminal act, displayed intent and made an overt act toward actually committing the crime. The agreement does not need to be formal or in writing. It can simply consist of a conversation between two people.
The defendant must not only intend to commit the crime but also understand what he or she has agreed to do. An overt act could include surveilling the location of a future robbery, purchasing weapons or obtaining a vehicle.
Penalties for federal conspiracy charges
Individuals convicted of federal conspiracy could serve up to five years in prison. The court can also order fines and restitution. Conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor results in lesser legal consequences. Typically, federal conspiracy sentences will not last longer than the sentence for the actual misdemeanor.
However, states have their own conspiracy laws for minor offenses. For example, Georgia can impose a sentence of at least one year and up to half the maximum penalty for the crime itself. If the offense carries the death penalty, the maximum conspiracy sentence in the state is 10 years. Georgia treats conspiracy charges for misdemeanor crimes as misdemeanor offenses.