When most people hear the term “conspiracy,” they think of men in sunglasses that are covertly committing a variety of nefarious crimes. However, the truth is far more mundane: Conspiracy is a real crime, and there are a number of factors that go into a conspiracy charge. These charges will vary from state to state, and South Carolina criminal law has a variety of factors that determine when a conspiracy charge is valid.
What factors will result in a conspiracy charge?
Under criminal law, a number of factors will go into the filing of a conspiracy charge. In the course of creating your legal defense, competent legal counsel should review each of these elements and determine whether or not they have been met in your specific case.
These three factors include:
– Agreement: Is there an agreement between two or more parties to commit a crime? This doesn’t have to be a formal, written agreement, of course, but rather an implied agreement or conversation in which it becomes clear that all parties involved are going to commit an illegal act.
– Intent: Did you agree to be part of the alleged crime and conspiracy? Did you display a specific intent to do so? Remember, you have to have specifically intended to be part of a criminal effort. Knowing someone who has committed a crime – or even knowing about a crime – may not be enough to prove a conspiracy charge.
– “Overt Act”: Talking about a criminal conspiracy or a crime should not be enough to result in a conspiracy charge. Instead, the person who is being charged with conspiracy must have specifically committed some overt act – like purchasing equipment or assaulting an individual – that furthered the crime in question.
Conspiracy charges can be serious criminal charges and add to the criminal penalties to which you are subjected. Understanding what goes into these charges can help you build a strong defense and ultimately minimize your penalties.