When is an act considered a criminal conspiracy?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

People in South Carolina who are facing conspiracy charges in state or federal court might face prison sentences and stiff fines if they are convicted. People might still be charged with this offense even if the act was not completed as long as one or more of the co-conspirators took a concrete step in furtherance of the plot with the intent to commit the crime.

Federal or state conspiracy charges

Under federal law, you can be charged with conspiracy when you and one or more co-conspirators agree to commit a crime and when one of you takes a step to commit the offense. The crime that was intended to be committed does not have to be completed for charges to be filed. If the crime was committed, you can face charges for both the criminal offense and the conspiracy, and you can be sentenced for each. People can also be charged with conspiracy as a state crime in South Carolina. Under SC Code § 16-17-410, you can be charged with conspiracy if you and one or more co-conspirators agree to engage in unlawful actions to obtain a lawful or an unlawful object.

Penalties for conspiracy

Under federal law, a conviction for conspiracy can result in a prison sentence of up to five years plus fines. However, if the underlying crime was a misdemeanor, your sentence will not be longer than the sentence for the misdemeanor offense. Under state law, if you are convicted of conspiracy, it is a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. However, your sentence cannot be longer than the sentence you would have received if you had been convicted of the underlying offense.

Whether you are facing conspiracy charges in state or federal court, defenses might be available to you. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who practices in both the state and federal courts might help you to understand the legal options available to you. A lawyer may analyze the facts of your case and explain the defense strategy that might be the most appropriate under the facts.