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Understand what conspiracy means

On Behalf of | May 15, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Some Alaska residents may think they have not done anything wrong if they have not actually committed a crime. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes people may commit a crime called conspiracy if they plan to commit an offense and take some of the steps needed to carry it out.

According to Cornell Law School, conspiracy means that people are planning to commit a crime in advance. They usually have to take steps toward carrying out this plan, such as purchasing weapons or staking out a location if they plan to rob it. Conspiracy typically involves at least two people. The penalty for this offense usually depends on the particular situation. Sometimes the crime people plan to commit may be a misdemeanor and in this situation, people may not receive a penalty harsher than those generally associated with misdemeanors. In other situations, though, some people might face up to five years in jail, while others may have to pay a fine.

There are a few specific elements that determine if people commit conspiracy. FindLaw says that people cannot simply plan to commit a crime but need to begin carrying out the offense. This means that talking about robbing a bank or committing murder is not usually considered conspiracy. Instead, someone might need to acquire weapons or a getaway car. This is because these are concrete actions that demonstrate someone is planning to commit a crime. Additionally, a group of people generally needs to agree to commit a crime. This agreement does not have to be a formal written statement but can simply be a meeting where people discuss the offense.

Another important part of a conspiracy is the intent of the people involved. Some people may think they are part of a conspiracy if they knew a friend was considering committing a crime. However, someone is usually only involved in a conspiracy if he or she takes an active role in the offense. This means someone might be the getaway driver in a bank robbery. Most of the time, a court has to demonstrate that everyone involved in the conspiracy wanted to commit the crime.