In New York, if you make plans with someone else to commit a crime, you can face the criminal charge of conspiracy. If you carry out your plans, you can also face a charge for the underlying crime. To commit the crime of conspiracy, you must agree with someone else to commit a crime. You must take at least one affirmative step to carry out the agreement.
Divided by degrees
New York divides the crime of conspiracy into degrees. The most serious charge of conspiracy is first degree. The least serious charge of conspiracy is sixth-degree conspiracy. Each specific charge depends on who is involved and what crimes the group plans to commit.
Conspiracy in the fifth degree
There are two different ways that a conspiracy can amount to conspiracy in the fifth degree. The first way is to agree with someone to commit a felony. The second way is to agree with someone under sixteen years of age to commit any crime. For this type of conspiracy, you have to be more than eighteen years of age.
One example of fifth-degree criminal conspiracy is if Paul and Saul plan to rob a bank. They agree that they are going to carry out the heist on Saturday. Paul goes to the store and buys bags, masks and duct tape. The conspiracy is complete. Whether or not Paul and Saul actually rob the bank, they’ve both committed criminal conspiracy in the fifth degree.
In another example, Jon and Ron plan to steal gum from the local convenience store. Jon plans to go in and ask the clerk questions in another area of the store while Ron steals the gum. Jon is twenty-five years old, and Ron is thirteen years old.
Jon and Ron walk into the store, and Jon asks the clerk for help in the back of the store. Ron has a change of heart and doesn’t steal the gum. Even though Jon and Ron didn’t steal any gum, Jon still committed the crime of conspiracy in the fifth degree.
Conspiracy in the fifth degree is a class A misdemeanor. The court can sentence you to serve up to one year in jail. How much time you serve depends on the total circumstances as well as your criminal history. The court can place you on probation for up to three years. They can require you to pay a fine, too.
If you’re facing a charge of conspiracy in the fifth degree, the experienced team of NYC criminal attorneys at Spodek Law Group can help you explore defenses that might help you. The state has to prove that you made a plan or agreement with someone to commit the crime. You may be able to defend yourself if the state can’t prove that you ever made such an agreement.
You also might be able to show that you made the agreement only under duress. That means that someone threatened you into believing that you had no choice but to commit the crime. This can be a complete defense if the court or the jury believes that someone threatened you.
Another common defense is that no person who is a part of the agreement ever took an affirmative step to carry out the conspiracy. It’s not enough just to talk about committing a crime. Someone in the group has to take a step to carry it out. If you’re facing this type of charge, we invite you to contact the experienced team of Spodek Law Group to talk about your case.
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