Federal Conspiracy Charges
Federal conspiracy is a term used to describe several types of illegal acts conspired against the government. Federal conspiracy often involves two or more people. Conspiracy charges are complicated. While most people believe that they are only guilty of a crime they actually committed, this notion does not apply in federal conspiracy cases. The reality is that you can be charged for making plans to violate the law.
Types of Federal Conspiracy Charges and the Laws Applied
18 U.S. Code Section 371
The federal statute gives a guideline on what constitutes a federal conspiracy. Under the federal statute, conspiring to defraud the US is a criminal act. Under this statute, if two or more people conspire with the intention to commit an offense against the federal state, or any of its agencies, and one or more persons effects the plans, then these are guilty of a federal criminal act, and they all stand to face a prison sentence and a fine. The maximum prison sentence for such an offense is five years.
If the offense carried out is a misdemeanor, then the punishment shall not exceed the maximum penalty provided for such a charge. There are several noteworthy elements under this statute. The most apparent one is that a conspiracy must involve two or more persons. A conspiracy cannot be carried out by one person. The second key element is that there must be a plan to commit a federal crime and at least one person must carry out the plan.
Federal conspiracy charges are not made against federal agents, confidential informants or law enforcement informers. Conspiracy charges are applicable in a variety of cases. This is anything that two or more people can conspire to commit against the state. The most common charges include conspiracy to commit white collar crimes, drug trafficking and fraud.
18 U.S. Code section 372
Under this statute, conspirators are charged if they conspire to injure or impede an officer. For instance, if two or more persons make a plan to impede a person from holding or accepting an office, then they can be charged. The crime may be carried out in the form of force, threats or intimidation. Again, two or more people must conspire to commit these acts. The charge, however, holds even if it was only one of them who committed the act.
Are You Facing a Federal Conspiracy Charge?
If you are charged with committing a federal conspiracy crime, you will be dealing with a government agency such as DEA, SEC or the FBI. These officers are trained to carry out thorough interrogations. They can also be intimidating. You need an aggressive defense lawyer to help you navigate the legal process. The lawyer should be present in any meeting or interrogation. They will advise you on what to say to avoid incriminating yourself.
Penalties for Conspiracy Convictions
The sentencing for such cases often involves severe punishments. This is depending on the nature of the crimes committed. If you are charged with a felony, then you could face a life imprisonment sentence. Conspiracy charges can also include prison sentences ranging from 5 to twenty years. The prosecutor may reduce these charges if one of the conspirators agrees to testify against the co-defendants. There are other mitigating factors such as lack of criminal history and if the person confessed of the crime before they were arrested. The lawyer can use these factors to negotiate for a lighter sentence.
Seek Legal Assistance from A Criminal Defense Lawyer
The defense used in federal conspiracy cases differs from defending other state crimes. Federal conspiracy cases are treated seriously. The prosecution also goes a long way in ensuring that they have a watertight case. In fact, a prosecutor will not attempt to try a case if they lack sufficient evidence to prosecute the conspirators.
One of the best defenses you can have is working with an experienced legal team. Do not attempt to defend yourself in such cases. You need a lawyer who understands federal legal procedures and the sentencing guidelines. The lawyer will work to have the charges thrown out or reduced. They will also advise you on the best course of action based on the merits of your case.