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Falling in with the wrong crowd or getting involved in a situation that ends up being criminal in nature could quickly land you in trouble with the law. If you are accused of committing conspiracy to commit any type of federal crime, you may wish to contact a Jefferson County federal conspiracy lawyer.

To defend yourself against these serious federal charges, reach out to a seasoned federal criminal defense attorney.

Conspiracy Charges and Federal Law

Conspiracy is a criminal charge that often accompanies other charges, such as drug charges or bribery charges, in federal court. The criminal offense of conspiracy occurs when two or more persons work together to commit a crime.

18 U.S. Code § 371 provides for general conspiracy to commit any federal law or defraud the United States, but there are many other federal statutes that establish conspiracy offense related to more specific crimes. There are independent charges of conspiring to commit drug trafficking and money laundering.

In order to prove federal conspiracy charges, the government must prove the following elements:

  • Two or more persons conspired or agreed to commit a certain crime
  • The individual being charged knowingly and voluntarily participated in the conspiracy
  • A person involved in the conspiracy committed at least one overt act to advance or assist with the conspiracy

It is not necessary for a crime to be actually carried out in order for individuals to face conspiracy charges.

Potential Defenses a Person Could Use

There are situations in which individuals have valid legal defenses to conspiracy. If someone agreed to participate in a conspiracy to commit a crime but they later backed out or did not participate, they may have a defense to conspiracy charges. If the person was threatened or coerced into conspiring to commit a crime, they may be able to fight back against charges of conspiracy.

If the events that actually occurred were different than planned or not reasonably foreseeable based on the actions of those who committed the criminal act, then defendants also may have a valid defense against conspiracy charges. With the help of a federal conspiracy attorney in Jefferson County, an individual may be able to raise one or more of these defenses in their case.

Penalties a Defendant May Face

Pursuant to 18 U.S. Code § 371, individuals who are convicted of conspiracy to commit any offense against or defraud the United States can be sentenced to a prison term of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000 (or $500,000 for organizations), or receive both a prison sentence and a fine.

If the criminal offense that is the object of the conspiracy is a misdemeanor, then the penalties for the conspiracy cannot exceed the maximum penalties for the misdemeanor criminal offense. A Jefferson County federal conspiracy lawyer could help a defendant understand the federal conspiracy penalties they may be facing.

Statute of Limitations for Prosecution

The government must typically file federal conspiracy charges, and all charges for all other non-capital federal offenses, within five years of the date on which the offense occurred.

If the government fails to file the conspiracy charges based on a non-capital crime within the five-year statute of limitations, the government may no longer be able to pursue the charges. This statute of limitations does not apply to conspiracy charges based on a potentially capital crime, such as kidnapping or murder.

Consult With a Jefferson County Federal Conspiracy Attorney

There may be ways to fight back against any type of federal conspiracy charges despite the seriousness of potential penalties for a conspiracy conviction. Consult a Jefferson County federal conspiracy lawyer who may be able to help you determine what defenses are available to you based on the unique facts of your case. By developing a strong defense and a clear strategy, you may be able to resolve your charges in the way that will benefit you most.

Jefferson County Federal Criminal Lawyer