Conspiracy charges may be brought against you if you are accused of participating in a federal offense like drug trafficking or fraud.
Conspiracy charges can carry a wide range of possible prison terms. This charge is serious regardless of your involvement in the underlying crime. For this reason, severe punishments are frequently imposed.
This article examines the potential criminal penalties for conspiracy charges and the elements that may affect those penalties.
Conspiracy Charges Sentences
Depending on the seriousness of the alleged wrongdoing, conspiracy charges may be brought at either the federal or state level. As a result, sentences and punishments are not uniform.
In the federal district court, the judge must impose a term of at least five years in federal prison and a fine. Conspiracy to deface a building, for example, is a misdemeanor. Thus, the consequences are not as severe as they might otherwise be.
However, a life sentence or forty years in jail is possible for more severe offenses such as murder or drug trafficking. The penalties that can be imposed at the state level rely on the conspiracy statutes in effect there.
The maximum punishment for a conspiracy accusation is often the same as the punishment for the underlying offense.
Also Read: Can Misdemeanors Be Expunged?
What are Some Legal Defenses to a Conspiracy Case?
When facing a conspiracy charge, defendants have three primary legal options:
- No agreement existed
- No overt act was taken to further the agreement
- The accused withdrew from the conspiracy.
However, the fact that the defendant’s conspiracy accusation stems from an act or omission by a convicted co-conspirator is not a defense.
Conspiracy charges are often associated with other serious crimes, such as racketeering. If you’re not familiar with the specifics of racketeering charges, you may want to check out our article on What Is Racketeering Charges.
Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges
The scope of federal statutes against drug conspiracies is deliberately broad. However, the general definition of a federal drug conspiracy is two or more people coming together with the intent to break a federal drug statute. For a prosecution to succeed in obtaining a conviction, they must show that:
- At least two people conspired to break a United States federal narcotics statute.
- Each conspirator was aware of the pact and chose to participate in it.
Felony Conspiracy Jail Time
If convicted of conspiracy, you face serious prison time. Sentencing recommendations for federal conspiracies depend on the nature of the underlying crime. As an illustration, if you are found guilty of conspiring to commit an offense, you could spend the rest of your life behind bars.
A mandatory minimum penalty of 5, 10, or 20 years in federal prison is often associated with criminal conspiracy accusations. Remember, however, that these sentences are negotiable depending on the details you provide.
A plea bargain may be best if you face federal conspiracy charges. Still, you will need an experienced defense attorney to negotiate your best terms.
How many years for a Conspiracy Charge penalty?
The punishment for federal conspiracy depends on the nature of the underlying crime. If you’re caught plotting to break American law, you might face up to five years in prison.
In addition to a prison sentence under Section 371, the court may impose a fine on the conspirator. However, the crime is a misdemeanor. In that case, the maximum punishment for the conspiracy is the same as the penalty for the felony charge.
The government’s conspiracy accusation will determine the potential repercussions of the crime. Some conspiracy laws outline a specific punishment, while others indicate that the offender would face the same penalties for the conspiracy as they would for the actual offense.
See Also: How To Check If You Have an Indictment
Withdrawal from the Conspiracy
Suppose you’ve been charged with participating in a conspiracy and actively tried to withdraw from it. In that case, you can defend yourself.
Possible defenses against federal drug conspiracy accusations can help you avoid the severe punishments imposed by the federal government. Consult an attorney immediately if you need help figuring out how to proceed with your case.
How much time does criminal conspiracy carry in SC?
A conviction for the felony offense of conspiracy carries a penalty of not more than five years in jail and a fine of not more than $5,000.
What are three potential defenses to a conspiracy charge?
Three common legal defenses to conspiracy charges are the lack of an agreement, absence of any overt act supporting the contract, and defendant’s withdrawal from the conspiracy.
Hi, I’m Brian Gary; I have my Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree from SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Over the years, I have dealt with many families and successful corporate Legal cases. I have counseled many people on legal matters, and along with my profession, I write about Law on my blog. Please feel free to contact me for counseling/case discussion; I’ll be happy to help you.