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NYC Conspiracy Charges Lawyer

Conspiracy allegations could put your freedom in serious jeopardy. Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney who is experienced in dealing with conspiracy charges will give you the best chance of beating any case brought against you. At Protass Law PLLC, criminal defense attorney Harlan Protass has the experience necessary to defend you at every level and stage of the process in a conspiracy case.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call 212.455.0335, or reach out through the online form.

Over Acts and Conspiracy

Any charge of criminal conspiracy requires two basic elements: (A) an agreement between two or more individuals to commit a crime; and (B) at least one “overt act” in furtherance of that criminal plan. So, for example, an agreement between two people to burglarize a home and a discussion about that burglary may not be enough for a conspiracy charge. But an agreement between two people to burglarize a home combined with the purchase or equipment to do so or even the “casing” of a home to rob may well be enough for a conspiracy charge to stick.

In other words, you don’t have to actually engage in the planned criminal conduct to be guilty of conspiracy. Rather, the simple act of agreeing with another person to commit a crime and engaging in one “overt act” in furtherance of that conspiratorial agreement can be enough to sustain a conspiracy charge. Because the elements of conspiracy are simple to establish, it is one of the most frequently charged criminal offenses and is often charged alongside substantive criminal offenses (such as bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud).

Conspiracy Charges Under New York and Federal Law

Both New York law (Article 105 of New York’s Penal Law) and federal law (18 U.S.C. § 371 for most conspiracies and 21 U.S.C. § 846 for narcotics distribution conspiracies) prohibit conspiracy. In New York, conspiracy is punishable by up to life in prison depending on the nature of the criminal conduct that is the subject of the conspiracy and the people involved in the conspiratorial agreement. The same applies under federal law, though factors such as your role in a conspiracy can increase or decrease the length of any prison term arising from a conspiracy conviction.

Defending Against Conspiracy Charges

Conspiracy is a serious charge that can carry significant penalties in the form of a prison term (even a long prison term). Indeed, you could be sentenced to years behind bars just for planning – but not actually committing – a crime. Without an experienced conspiracy charges attorney at your side, you are at a huge disadvantage.

An attorney can assist you with your case by, after reviewing all the evidence, developing a strategy to defend against any charges that might be brought against you. Defenses to conspiracy charges include the following:

  • Withdrawal - If you withdrew from a conspiratorial agreement before commission of the planned crime, you may have a defense. But to withdraw from a conspiracy you must: (1) take an affirmative act to withdraw from the conspiracy; (2) timely communicate your withdrawal to all of your co-conspirators; and (3) withdraw before completion of the conspiracy’s objective
  • Duress or coercion - If you agreed to commit a crime but only did so because you were threatened, you may be able to argue that your agreement to participate in a conspiracy was made under duress.
  • Entrapment – If a law enforcement officer or government agent persuaded to participate in a conspiracy that you would not otherwise have become involved with, prosecutors may not be able to prove that you had the criminal intent to participate in a conspiracy so long as: (1) the idea for the conspiracy came from the officer or agent, not you; (2) the officer or agent actually persuaded you to participate in the conspiracy; and (3) you had no intention of committing the crime before being persuaded to do so.
  • Lack of capacity - If you were unable to form the criminal intent to commit a crime due to a mental disease or defect that rendered you unable to understand right from wrong or the nature of your conduct, you must be found not guilty.

Even if you do not have a complete defense to a conspiracy charge, a good defense attorney can present mitigating evidence in an attempt to get you a lighter sentence. Factors that might result in a shorter sentence (or potentially even no jail time) include the absence of any criminal history or the existence of a conspiratorial agreement that was never actually consummated.

Speak to a New York City Conspiracy Charges Lawyer

You stand the best chance of avoiding a conviction or time behind bars for conspiracy if you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. If you are suspected of having participated in a conspiracy, don’t speak with law enforcement. Instead, call an experienced criminal defense lawyer like attorney Harlan Protass .

To get started on your case, contact Protass Law PLLC today at 212.455.0335.