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.
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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