Could You Be Guilty of Criminal Conspiracy?
Criminal conspiracy is a serious crime, and it is a crime that may be easy to commit under Illinois law. A person accused of criminal conspiracy does not need to take any action in order to be found guilty.
Conspiracy is often charged in drug dealing cases. However, a person could be accused of a conspiracy to commit any crime from insurance fraud to first-degree murder.
Illinois law states that conspiracy is committed when:
- A person agrees with another to commit an offense;
- A person has the intent that the offense be committed; and
- It is proven that an act in furtherance of the agreement has been committed by someone in the conspiracy.
Thus, conspiracy requires an overt action in furtherance of the conspiracy. It is not enough for two people to hatch a plan to commit a crime. If this were the case, there may be free speech violations because the government cannot stop people from speaking in this way. This is where the third requirement comes into play. The law requires that in order for someone to be found guilty of conspiracy one person in the conspiracy must take an act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
This act does not have to be illegal; however, it must be something that moves the plan to commit a crime along. All parties to the conspiracy do not even have to specifically agree to it. For example, a person could rent a car or show up to a lookout location. These examples would be enough to charge the group with conspiracy.
Penalties for Conspiracy
If you are found guilty of conspiracy, the penalties are determined by the penalties that would be used for the underlying crime. Generally, that means that a person convicted of conspiracy to commit:
- A Class X felony would be sentenced for a Class 1 felony;
- A Class 1 felony would be sentenced for a Class 2 felony;
- A Class 2 felony would be sentenced for a Class 3 felony;
- A Class 3 felony would be sentenced for a Class 4 felony;
- A Class 4 felony would be sentenced for a Class 4 felony; or
- A misdemeanor may be fined and/or imprisoned but the sentence cannot exceed the maximum provided for the underlying offense.
Defenses to Conspiracy
The law provides that certain arguments are not defenses to the crime of conspiracy. For example, you cannot argue that you are not guilty because others in the conspiracy have not been prosecuted, convicted, acquitted, or that the others were convicted of a different offense.
Further, you cannot argue that the group who conspired did not have the capacity to commit the offense. If you have been charged with conspiracy, you should meet with an attorney who can examine your case and formulate a defense on your behalf.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer
The DuPage County, IL criminal law attorneys at our firm defend those accused of many types of crime. Our firm prides itself on providing skilled representation and excellent client service. We have office locations that serve DuPage, Kane, Cook, Kendall and Will Counties. Call the Davi Law Group, LLC at 630-580-6373 to set up your initial meeting today.