Conspiracy Charges: What it Means and What to Do if You Are Accused

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Conspiracy Charges: What it Means and What to Do if You Are Accused

A conspiracy charge is a criminal offence when two or more individuals come together and plan to carry out an action or actions that will inevitably involve committing a crime. The offence is the agreement itself, so even if the action is not illegal, you can still be arrested or convicted of a conspiracy offence, regardless of whether the planned crime is executed. If you are charged with or due to be interviewed for a conspiracy charge, we advise you to contact a criminal defence solicitor as soon as possible.

One crucial aspect of conspiracy charges is that they can be brought regardless of whether the crime is ultimately committed or not. The focus is on the agreement to engage in specific actions as part of a criminal plan rather than completing it. For example, suppose two individuals conspire to rob a shop and are caught purchasing masks for the robbery but never actually carry out the crime. In that case, they can still be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

Individuals who aid in planning a crime but do not directly participate in its execution can still be subject to the same punishment as the person who commits the crime. This means that individuals associated with a conspiracy can face severe consequences even if they are not directly involved in the criminal act.

Conspiracy charges can result in lengthy prison sentences upon conviction, including life imprisonment. Given the gravity of these charges, it is essential for individuals facing conspiracy allegations to seek appropriate legal representation from criminal defence solicitors who can provide guidance and defend their rights throughout the investigation and legal process.

The prosecution’s burden of proof in conspiracy cases is in some ways easier to prove than in other offences, as they only need to demonstrate evidence of an agreement to commit a crime, not the actual occurrence of the crime itself. In cases involving multiple defendants, if one person pleads guilty to the conspiracy charge, it can substantially strengthen the prosecution’s case as it fundamentally establishes that the agreement did take place and potentially lead to the conviction of others involved.

Due to the complexity and potential consequences of conspiracy charges, it is crucial for individuals facing such allegations to consult with a solicitor as soon as possible. They can provide expert advice, develop defence strategies, and ensure that no critical details or defence angles are overlooked during the legal proceedings.

What are the Penalties for a conspiracy charge?

The penalties for engaging in a criminal conspiracy vary depending on several factors. These include the nature of the crime, the individual’s role in the conspiracy, the scale of the offence, the duration of the criminal activities, the level of awareness of participation in the conspiracy, the timing of the guilty plea, and any previous convictions on record.

The severity of the penalties considers the level of involvement an individual had in the conspiracy. Factors such as whether they played a minor or subordinate role in executing someone else’s plan or if they were a key player involved in planning the crime can impact the sentencing. In cases of conspiracies involving drugs, the penalties also consider the class, quantity, and value of the drugs involved in the conspiracy to supply offence.

The duration of the criminal activities is another factor taken into account. Engaging in a conspiracy over an extended period may result in more severe penalties.

The individual’s level of awareness of their involvement in a criminal conspiracy is also considered. The penalties may be more severe if they were fully aware of their participation.

The timing of a guilty plea can affect the penalties. Pleading guilty early in the legal proceedings will result in a discount to the sentence that would ordinarily receive. 

If an individual was coerced, pressured, or intimidated into participating in the conspiracy, it may be considered during the sentencing phase. Additionally, any previous convictions on an individual’s record can impact the penalties imposed for a criminal conspiracy.

It is important to note that the specific penalties for criminal conspiracy can vary significantly depending the particular circumstances of the case. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal advice from a criminal defence solicitor who can provide accurate information, guidance and representation. 

At Burton Copeland, our criminal defence solicitors work around the clock to support those facing investigations. To discuss a conspiracy charge, please call our Manchester office on 01618279500. You can also fill in our online contact form and let us know a suitable time for us to contact you. 

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