When two or more people commit or plan an unlawful act, a conspiracy charge may be brought by the prosecutor. Charges of conspiracy are difficult allegations to face. A conviction could result in significant penalties and the possible loss of your freedom.
If you are charged with conspiracy, you need a strong criminal defense from a dedicated attorney. An experienced North Charleston conspiracy lawyer could help you navigate the legal system and determine an effective strategy for your circumstances.
Definition of Conspiracy
Under South Carolina criminal law, conspiracy charges require two separate elements. The first is an agreement between multiple individuals to commit an illegal act or to complete a legal objective by illegal means. Importantly, the agreement does not need to be stated aloud. It can be implicit, meaning that it is understood between the parties despite the lack of a verbal agreement. Because of this, it is easy for prosecutors to allege that an agreement occurred, even when the defendant never agreed to the conspiracy.
The second element of conspiracy is intent. The parties involved must have knowingly entered the illicit agreement with the intent to accomplish an illegal objective. As such, the prosecution must prove two levels of intent. First, each conspirator must agree to the conspiracy plan itself. Second, the conspirator must agree to the plan’s ultimate illegal goal.
Do Conspiracy Charges Require an Illegal Act?
Conspiracy charges are unique in that the offense has occurred once the agreement is reached and the legal elements of intent are met. It is not necessary that the conspirators actually accomplish their illegal act or even begin to commit the acts necessary to achieve their goal. As such, it is crucial to build a defense with a conspiracy attorney skilled in this area of law.
Most often, conspiracy charges are present when another offense has been committed, or the attempts to commit the offense were discovered. In any case, a knowledgeable attorney could help fight conspiracy charges to protect the defendant’s rights.
Attempt vs. Conspiracy Charges in North Charleston
Despite common misconceptions, a charge of conspiracy is not the same as a charge of attempt. An attempt to commit a crime is a separate offense designed to hold people accountable for their illegal actions, despite the fact that they failed to achieve their ultimate goal. On the other hand, conspiracy, is designed to punish people for even planning to commit crimes.
This means that defendants can be charged with both attempt and conspiracy. Even if no criminal act actually occurs, it is possible to face severe charges for both the attempt of the crime and the conspiracy to commit it. In these cases, support from an aggressive conspiracy attorney in the area may be necessary to defend against potential penalties.
Building a Defense for Conspiracy Charges
To build a defense for conspiracy charges, a well-practiced lawyer will analyze the unique circumstances, talk to witnesses, and consider the aspects of law relevant to the case. There are many potential options for defending against these charges, such as:
- Filing a suppression motion
- Presenting reasonable doubt to the jury
- Demonstrating that no agreement was made
- Showing that there were no co-conspirators
- Disputing the intent element of the offense
Regardless of the particulars of a North Charleston conspiracy case, a strong criminal defense is the best way to fight back against these charges.
Contact a North Charleston Conspiracy Attorney for Your Defense
In many cases, conspiracy charges are not supported by proper evidence and can be defended. A diligent legal advocate could work tirelessly to find the holes in the prosecution’s argument and protect your legal rights. If you are facing criminal charges, speak with an experienced North Charleston conspiracy lawyer about your defense strategy. Contact the legal team at Adams & Bischoff today.