Federal Conspiracy Defense Attorneys
Defending Against Complicated Conspiracy Allegations in Federal Court
Did you know that you don’t actually have to complete a criminal offense to face federal criminal charges? You may think that talking about the possibility of committing a crime or even making plans to commit a crime is harmless as long as you don’t ever go through with it. However, many people find themselves suddenly facing federal conspiracy charges when they didn’t realize they had any possible criminal culpability.
At Duffy Law, our attorneys have extensive experience handling cases in federal criminal court—both as prosecutors and defense attorneys. We know that U.S. Attorneys regularly pursue criminal conspiracy charges, and we also know the importance of having the right defense representation to fight these charges. If authorities arrested you and accused you of criminal conspiracy—whether in conjunction with another crime or not—you should call (203) 946-2000 or contact us online immediately to discuss your defense options.
Information about Federal Conspiracy Charges
The federal charge of conspiracy can be in relation to any federal offense. A conspiracy charge alleges that two or more people agreed to commit a criminal act together. The elements a prosecutor must prove for a conviction include:
- Two or more individuals agree to act;
- The defendant understood the goal of the conspiracy (the criminal offense) and became a willing participant; and
- For some offenses, at least one member of the conspiracy must take an affirmative step in furtherance of the criminal act
A conviction for conspiracy does not require that the underlying criminal act be completed. For example, two people may devise a plan to rob a bank. However, authorities apprehend and arrest the two individuals on their way to the bank. Even though no one robbed the bank, the people involved may face charges of conspiracy. However, if anyone went through with the planned robbery, you can face charges for both the conspiracy and the completed crime.
You should also realize that to be a participant in a conspiracy, you do not have to know about all criminal activity that takes place, or even be aware of the identities of all other conspirators. You can participate on a “need to know” basis and the law still considers you to be a full member of the conspiracy. Even if you had minimal involvement, you can still be charged for any acts of co-conspirators, even if you did not commit those acts yourself. Again, using the bank robbery example, assume that you helped devise a plan to turn off the security cameras at the bank from a location down the street. While you never entered the bank yourself or stole any money, you can face the same charges as your co-conspirators who actually robbed the bank.
Possible Penalties for Federal Conspiracy Convictions
There are many types of common criminal conspiracies prosecuted in federal court. Conspiracies can be for drug trafficking, RICO offenses (racketeering offenses), obstruction of justice, white collar crimes such as embezzlement schemes, and more. The penalties you face in federal court can vary depending on the type of criminal acts planned and whether prosecutors allege that you or any of your co-conspirators completed any criminal acts.
If the underlying crime was a misdemeanor, mail fraud, or wire fraud, you can face the same penalties as you would for the offense in question. If you face only conspiracy charges rather than the charges from the actual crime itself, you can face up to five years in federal prison, fines, or both. If at least one member of the conspiracy completed any criminal acts, you can face the penalties allowed by federal law for those acts. In order to know the specific penalties you may face, you should consult with a knowledgeable federal criminal defense law firm.
Defending Against Conspiracy Allegations in Federal Court
Federal criminal cases can differ substantially from state criminal cases. First, federal agencies and authorities have extensive resources to use for complex investigations. Often, an investigation may proceed for some time before authorities ever place you under arrest or prosecutors issue charges. This means that prosecutors often have a significant amount of evidence against you from the very start of your case.
If you believe you may be under investigation for conspiracy or any other federal crime, you should contact our criminal defense lawyers immediately. We can begin helping you and protecting your rights during your investigation and before you face charges.
Once a case is underway, the rules of evidence for conspiracy cases can give the prosecutors an advantage. Prosecutors can legally introduce statements of co-conspirators against you so long as the statements were made during the conspiracy and in furtherance of the conspiracy. This can cause numerous problems, as your co-conspirators may agree to a deal with the prosecutor in exchange for testimony against others in the conspiracy.
It is absolutely critical that you have an attorney with the specific knowledge of how to defend against conspiracy charges. Some questions we regularly examine when building an aggressive defense include:
- Did the conspiracy exist in the first place?
- Did you know you were agreeing to help with criminal activity?
- Were you a willful participant or did others coerce you into participating in some way?
- Can we suppress certain evidence against you?
- Can we get a jury instruction that certain evidence does not apply to you as an individual defendant?
We closely analyze each case individually to ensure we identify all possible ways to defend against your conspiracy charges. We also have experience handling all types of criminal cases in federal court, so we can skillfully handle any accompanying charges for underlying offenses, as well.
Contact Our Experienced Federal Criminal Conspiracy Attorneys Today
When you face any type of federal charges, including federal conspiracy, your first call should be to Duffy Law. Our criminal defense lawyers are fully confident in our ability to handle even the most complex federal criminal cases. You should have qualified representation from the moment you suspect you are under investigation or as soon as possible after an arrest. Call (203) 946-2000 or contact us online to discuss our services today.