In New York, it is a crime to make plans with someone else to commit a crime. This is called conspiracy. If you agree with one or more people to commit a crime and take a single step to further your plans, you’ve committed conspiracy.
Conspiracy in the first degree
There are several different levels of conspiracy charges in New York. The most serious is conspiracy in the first degree. It’s a violation of New York penal law § 105.17.
To commit the crime of conspiracy in the first degree you must be eighteen years of age or older. You must agree with someone who is less than sixteen years old to commit a felony. The felony that you agree to commit must be a class A felony. You must commit at least one act to further the conspiracy.
Conspiracy in the first degree is a class A-I felony. That makes it one of the most serious offenses in New York criminal law. Murder, arson and terrorism are other examples of A-I felonies in New York. If you’re convicted, you can expect to spend many years in prison. It’s crucial to have an NYC criminal attorney evaluate your case to help you prepare your best defense.
It’s not enough just to talk about it
Law enforcement can’t charge you with conspiracy in the first degree if all you do is talk about committing a class A felony. For example, you’re thirty years old, and you’re working on a project with your twelve year old nephew. During your project, your nephew tells you how another student is picking on him at school.
Angered, you tell your nephew that you can burn the other student’s house down. Your nephew is excited about this, and you spend the next hour talking about your plans to burn the student’s house down. Later, your nephew tells his mother about the exchange. She calls the police.
New York penal law 105.20 says that a person can’t be convicted of conspiracy under New York law unless at least one of the people in the conspiracy does something to further the conspiracy. In this case, it’s unlikely that the police can charge you with conspiracy in the first degree. You didn’t take any steps to further the conspiracy.
One example of a class A felony is murder in the first degree. Say for example that you’re twenty-one years old. You have a cousin that’s fourteen years old. You agree with your cousin that you’re going to murder a person that lives down the street. You buy throw-away phones to continue making plans, and you find a hammer in your basement to use as a weapon.
The police find out about your plans. They find proof that you agreed with your fourteen-year-old cousin to commit this murder and bought the phones. The police charge you with conspiracy in the first degree under New York law.
If you’re charged with conspiracy in the first degree, you should carefully review all of the elements of the offense to see if the state can prove their case against you. If there is a question about your age or the age of the person that you allegedly conspired with, you can raise this as a defense. Another common defense is that you didn’t agree to commit an A-I felony. You might argue that none of the parties involved in the agreement took any steps to further the conspiracy. If you’re facing this charge, it’s important to explore every possible option.
In New York, you can face criminal charges for planning with another person to commit a crime. This is the case even if you never commit the crime. To commit a conspiracy, you need to agree with one or more other people to commit a crime. You must take one or more steps to start to carry out that plan.
The degrees of criminal conspiracy
New York divides criminal conspiracy into degrees. The more serious the offense that you planned to commit, the more serious conspiracy charges that you can face. First degree criminal conspiracy is the most serious. Conspiracy in the sixth degree is the least serious.
Conspiracy in the second degree
To commit conspiracy in the second degree, you must agree with at least one other person to commit a class A felony. You must take at least one overt step towards actually carrying out the conspiracy. You can face charges in the county where you make the agreement or where you take steps to carry it out.
If you’re convicted of conspiracy in the second degree, you’re convicted of a class B felony. That means you can spend up to twenty-five years in prison. You can also spend another five years on probation and pay a hefty fine. Because the penalties are so steep, it’s important that an experienced attorney team like the NYC criminal attorneys at Spodek Legal Group helps you explore every option for your defense.
The difference between first degree and second degree conspiracy is that first degree conspiracy requires conspiring with someone under the age of sixteen to commit a class A felony. For second degree conspiracy, the age of the person you conspired with doesn’t matter. In both cases, you need to be planning to commit a class A felony.
For example, you’re having dinner with friends. You begin to talk about how you’d like to get revenge on a person who you feel cheated you out of a payment they owed you. The people at the dinner agree that this person owes you this money. You all agree that you are going to kill this person.
The next day, one of the people in the group contacts a hit man. The hit man contacts the police and the police investigate. In this scenario, everyone who agreed to kill the person can face charges of criminal conspiracy in the second degree.
There must be an overt act
In the previous example, if the person in group hadn’t tried to contact the hit man, it’s unlikely that anyone in your group could face charges for criminal conspiracy. That’s because at least one person must actually take an action to further the goal of the conspiracy. It’s not enough just to talk about what you plan to do.
How to defend yourself
If you’re charged with conspiracy in the second degree, it’s important to evaluate each element of the charged offense. If the state can’t prove even a single element, the charges against you shouldn’t stick. You can explore whether there is evidence that you agreed with anyone to commit a class A felony. Then, you can look for evidence that someone in the group took an affirmative step to further the conspiracy.
Evaluate whether there are innocent explanations for things that people allegedly said or did. It’s up to the state to prove the charges against you. You’re innocent until proven guilty. If the state can’t prove each step of the charges, you can successfully defend yourself from the allegations against you.
If you plan with someone else to commit a crime in New York, you can face a charge of conspiracy. This is true even if you don’t end up committing the crime. Conspiracy in New York is making a plan with someone else to commit a crime. If anyone that’s in on the conspiracy takes one step to carry out the plan, the conspiracy is complete.
New York’s conspiracy laws
New York law divides conspiracy crimes into several degrees. First degree is the most serious of the conspiracy charges. It’s reserved for agreeing with someone under the age of sixteen to commit a very serious felony. Sixth degree conspiracy is the least serious of the conspiracy charges. It covers agreeing with any person to commit any type of crime.
Conspiracy in the third degree falls in the middle of the conspiracy charges. New York penal law 105.13 defines conspiracy in the third degree as an agreement with one or more people to commit a class B or a class C felony. The person charged with the offense must be over the age of eighteen while at least one of the people involved in the conspiracy must be under the age of sixteen.
Third-degree conspiracy is a class D felony. The maximum penalty is seven years in prison. The court can also place you on probation for up to five years and order you to pay a fine.
Although the maximum sentence is seven years in prison, not everyone who commits conspiracy in the third degree spends seven years in prison. In fact, if your offense isn’t violent and you don’t have any prior criminal history, the court has the option not to order you to spend any time in jail at all. However, conspiracy in the third degree is a serious offense. If you’re facing this charge, it’s important that you discuss the matter with an experienced NYC criminal attorney such as the attorneys at Spodek Law Group.
Ann is twenty years old. Dan is fifteen years old. Ann and Dan agree to sell marijuana to Jan. In fact, they agree to sell Jan eighteen ounces of marijuana. Ann and Dan drive to the meeting spot to make the sale. Jan notifies the police of the pending sale. The police watch the sale and then arrest Ann and Dan.
The sale of more than sixteen ounces of marijuana is a class C felony in New York. Ann is twenty years old. She conspired with a person who is fifteen years old to commit a class C felony. That means Ann can face the charge of conspiracy in the third degree. This is in addition to facing the charge of sale of larceny.
A person facing a charge of criminal conspiracy in the third degree should carefully evaluate the elements of the crime for viable defenses. One common defense is to argue that no person involved in the conspiracy committed any act in furtherance of the conspiracy. It isn’t enough just to talk about wanting to commit a crime. To commit conspiracy, at least one person must take an affirmative step to begin to carry out the plans.
Another common defense is to say that the person charged acted only under duress. If another person threatens someone into agreeing to commit a crime, the court may find that the person is not legally responsible for the conspiracy. In addition, an available defense might be to claim that the planned crime is not a class B or class C felony.
Conspiracy in the fourth degree is a violation of New York Penal Law 105.10. A conspiracy occurs when two or more people make an agreement to commit a crime. In New York, at least one of the people must actually take an affirmative step to further the plan in order for the conspiracy to be complete.
The different degrees of conspiracy
In New York, the crime of conspiracy is divided into different degrees. First-degree conspiracy is the most serious offense, and sixth-degree conspiracy is the least serious of the conspiracy offenses. What degree a conspiracy plan falls into depends on the circumstances of who makes the agreement and what crime the group plans to commit.
Conspiracy in the fourth degree
There are three different ways for a conspiracy to amount to conspiracy in the fourth degree. The first way is for two people to agree to commit a felony that is a class B or class C offense. The second way is for a person who is older than eighteen to agree with a person under sixteen to commit any felony offense. The third way is to conspire to commit money laundering.
For example, Kelly and Shelly make a plan to commit welfare fraud. Kelly agrees to help Shelly submit a false application for welfare benefits. The plan works and Shelly gets welfare benefits fraudulently. The welfare fraud amounts to welfare fraud in the first degree.
In that case, Kelly and Shelly can both face charges for conspiracy in the fourth degree. Welfare fraud in the first degree is a class B felony. Kelly and Shelly’s conspiracy is a fourth-degree offense because they agreed to commit a class B felony and took at least one step to commit the offense.
By contrast, if a person acts alone, there is no conspiracy. For example, Aaron, Karen and Sharon walk down a quiet street. Aaron is nineteen years of age, and Karen is fourteen years of age. Aaron carries a stick while he walks.
The group sees an elderly man walking the other way. Without saying anything, Aaron leaves the group and runs to the old man. He strikes the man with the stick. The man suffers serious injuries.
In this case, Aaron faces serious charges for the assault. However, no conspiracy has occurred in this case. Because Aaron never made an agreement with Karen or Sharon to attack the old man, only Aaron faces criminal charges in this situation.
Conspiracy in the fourth degree is a class E felony. It’s punishable by up to four years in prison. The court can impose a large fine and place you on probation for up to five years. This is a serious offense. Because there is serious jail time on the line, it’s important to work with an NYC criminal lawyer to defend your case to the fullest extent possible.
If you’re charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree, you can attack the state’s evidence, attack the way law enforcement gathered the evidence or make a claim that you acted under duress. You and your attorney can also explore plea options that could earn you more favorable disposition from the court. If you’re facing a conspiracy charge you might face additional charges if you or someone in your group actually completed the offense. If you’re interested in a non-trial resolution, you might be able to reach a plea agreement with the state. It’s important to work with an attorney to understand the choices available to you and make an informed decision about your case.
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.
Under New York law, it’s illegal to make plans with others to commit a crime. If you and one or more other people agree to commit a crime, it’s called conspiracy. If you commit a conspiracy, you can face time in jail and a criminal conviction. This is the case even if you don’t actually end up carrying out the crime.
You have to put your plan into action
It’s not enough to just talk with someone else about committing a crime. One of you has to take a step to put the plan into motion. For example, John and Juan want baseball cards from a store. They decide to try and steal the baseball cards.
John distracts the store owner by asking her questions in another part of the store. Juan steals in the baseball cards. Another shopper sees Juan’s actions and contacts the police. When the police talk to Juan, he tells them the entire story about his plans with John to steal the baseball cards. In this case, both John and Juan can face charges of conspiracy in the sixth degree.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t complete the crime
In the previous example, let’s consider a scenario where another shopper sees Juan put the baseball cards in his pocket. He sees the shopper on the phone with the police. Juan hears the conversation and knows that he’s caught. Juan puts the baseball cards back.
When the police arrive on scene, all of the baseball cards are accounted for. Even so, both John and Juan can face conspiracy charges for planning together to steal the baseball cards. They made the agreement, traveled to the store and distracted the shop keeper. The conspiracy is complete even though Juan didn’t actually take the baseball cards.
Conspiracy in the sixth degree
There are six different levels of conspiracy charges in the State of New York. Conspiracy in the sixth degree is the least serious of all of the charges. For sixth-degree charges, you can conspire with anyone to commit any type of crime. It doesn’t matter if the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. It doesn’t matter how old the person is that you make the agreement with. As long as you agree to commit some kind of crime, it’s conspiracy in the sixth degree.
Conspiracy in the sixth degree is a class B misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to ninety days in jail. You can spend another year on probation. You can also pay a fine.
If you’re facing a charge of conspiracy in the sixth degree, the NYC criminal lawyer team at Spodek Law Group can help you explore possible defenses. It’s important to evaluate whether an agreement ever existed to commit a crime. If there’s no agreement, there’s no crime.
In addition, someone in the group must have taken an overt act to actually carry out the plan. The state has to prove that this is the case. The police might try to twist your actions or your intentions in false ways that a jury might not believe. It’s up to a jury to decide if law enforcement has evidence of each element of the crime.
Duress is another defense. That means that someone threatens you to get you to go along with the conspiracy. If you’re threatened into committing a crime, the court can excuse your behavior. If you’re facing a charge of conspiracy in the sixth degree, an attorney can help you evaluate your options, so that you can make smart decisions about your case.
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