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.
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