Many people are always surprised to hear that a crime does not have to happen to be criminally charged and convicted. Like the state of Texas, many states find that the act of conspiring with another to commit a crime is a crime in itself. Criminal conspiracy, as this type of crime is labeled, is severe and can carry harsh penalties.
Criminal conspiracy, under Texas law, makes it a crime to conspire with another person in an attempt to commit a felony offense. The Texas Penal Code states that a person commits criminal conspiracy if that person has an agreement with another person and has taken action regarding that agreement with the intention that they will commit a crime. When charging and prosecuting, the government will assume that there is an agreement based on the actions taken by the parties.
Possible Defenses For A Conspiracy Charge
Texas statutes not only outline what constitutes a charge of criminal conspiracy, but the law also makes it clear that some elements will not be considered a defense to the charge.
Under Texas Penal Code § 15.02(c), the following situations will not be considered a defense to being charged and prosecuted with criminal conspiracy: (1) one or more of the actors is not criminally responsible for the crime, (2) one or more of the actors have been acquitted, so long as two or more have not been acquitted, (3) one or more of the actors have not been prosecuted or convicted, (4) the actor by law would not be able to commit the crime alone, (5) the crime was actually committed.
Possible Penalties For A Conviction Of Conspiracy
If convicted of being part of a criminal conspiracy in Texas, the law explains what penalty you will face. Your penalty will be based on one category lower than the most serious felony associated with the object crime. In other words, regardless of whether the object crime was committed or not, if you conspired to commit the said crime with another party, you will face penalties associated with that object crime.
Federal Conspiracy Charges
If you find yourself facing a criminal conspiracy charge in Federal court, some key elements differ from state court. The government files federal conspiracy cases if two or more people conspire to intentionally commit a federal crime or defraud the United States. Furthermore, the law requires that one or more of the people who formed the agreement overtly acted to carry out the conspiracy.
Federal conspiracy cases may hold harsher penalties than those in state court. For example, federal cases may carry fines up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.
Secure A Criminal Conspiracy Attorney
To be charged with conspiracy, you must have had an agreement with at least one other person to commit a crime. Furthermore, you must have behaved or acted in such a way that the government can assume that you were a party to such an agreement.
Conspiracy cases can be complex. It is crucial to have attorneys that understand the law. Whether being charged in state or federal court, the attorneys at Vinas & Graham have the experience to help. Contact them today for a consultation, or follow them on Facebook for more information.