One of the numerous white collar crimes is the offense of conspiracy. An individual accused of committing conspiracy may be prosecuted under both state and federal law. Conspiracy is often committed by members of organized crime, people planning or committing acts of terrorism, or people involved in drug trafficking. However, it is important to understand that conspiracy can be committed in relation to a variety of crimes.
Florida Conspiracy Statute
Pursuant to Florida law, criminal conspiracy occurs when a person agrees, conspires, combines, or confederates with another person to commit any offense. The conspirators do not need to commit any act in furtherance of the conspiracy to be found guilty. Therefore, the actual offense the conspirators intend to commit does not need to be accomplished. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that conspiracy is a distinct offense from the crime that is the object of the conspiracy.
The penalties for a conviction of criminal conspiracy depend on the underlying offense the conspirators agreed to commit. Conspiracy is ranked one level below the ranking of the offense conspired to under the offense severity ranking chart (found at §921.0022). For example, if the offense the conspirators plan to commit is a capital felony, the conspiracy is a first degree felony.
The statute lists some specific defenses to a charge of criminal conspiracy. These defenses include if a defendant, under circumstances that demonstrate a complete and voluntary renunciation of the criminal purpose:
- abandons his or her attempt to commit the offense or prevents its commission;
- after soliciting another, persuades that person not to commit the offense or prevents its commission; or
- after conspiring with others, persuades the co-conspirators not to commit the offense or prevents its commission.
It is important to remember that these are not the only defenses available against charges of conspiracy. Other options (which may not necessarily relate specifically to conspiracy) will exist depending upon the specific circumstances and facts of a particular case. This will be something you and your attorney will discuss as the matter becomes relevant.
Federal Conspiracy Statutes
There are several federal laws criminalizing conspiracy, with the broadest making it illegal to conspire to defraud or commit any offense against the United States. A person convicted of this will be subjected to a fine and a prison sentence of up to five years. There are also statutes that criminalize conspiring to commit robbery, money laundering, or to obstruct individual rights, as well as numerous others.
White Collar Crime Defense Attorneys
If you find yourself under investigation for conspiracy, you need to contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Both the state of Florida and the federal government consider conspiracy a very serious crime, with the potential for significant penalties. The attorneys at Farkas & Crowley, P.A. have the experience necessary to help you defend your rights. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.