The act of conspiracy can involve complex criminal schemes and many different parties, but it can also involve a simple agreement between two people to commit any crime. The penalties for conspiracy can be harsh, even if a crime never occurs, so consulting an Atlanta conspiracy lawyer may be advantageous to your case.
Criminal conspiracy charges can be stressful and overwhelming. Attempting to handle these charges alone may be unsuccessful or not result in the outcome that you want. Contacting a criminal lawyer at the beginning of your criminal case may be the most effective means of mounting a strong defense to your charges.
Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 16-4-8, individuals may face conspiracy charges when two or more of them agree to commit a crime, and at least one of them takes a significant action to carry out the agreement. All individuals involved in the agreement are subject to conspiracy charges, even if only one of them took any action to further the conspiracy. Conspiracy can apply to any criminal offense.
Even if the parties involved agreed to commit multiple crimes, they only can face one conspiracy charge if they are all part of the same scheme or course of conduct. Multiple separate agreements between different groups of people to commit separate crimes over a protracted period, theoretically, could result in more than one conspiracy charge. The laws surrounding this crime can be complex, so enlisting a knowledgeable conspiracy lawyer in the area is likely to be beneficial.
O.C.G.A. § 16-4-9 creates a potential defense for an individual who has abandoned or withdrawn from a conspiracy to commit a crime. Under this code section, a person can only abandon or withdraw from a conspiracy to commit a crime if they do so before any co-conspirator has taken action to further the conspiracy.
Once a conspiracy member takes an overt act to carry out the agreement, no member of the conspiracy can use the defense of withdrawal or abandonment from the conspiracy. The conspiracy is complete, and abandonment is not possible, even if a crime has not occurred and they are not the conspirator who took the overt action.
An individual who conspires to commit a misdemeanor crime could face the same penalties that are typically associated with that crime. As a result, someone who conspires to commit a specific misdemeanor can receive the same punishment as a person who actually commits the misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor offense under state law is one year in prison.
If the conspiracy is to commit a felony, the penalties are not the same as if the individuals had committed the felony offense. Instead, penalties for a conspiracy to commit a felony conviction may not exceed half the maximum prison sentence for the underlying felony offense. For example, if the maximum prison term for the felony offense is ten years, then a conviction for conspiracy to commit that felony can result in a maximum prison term of five years.
As a result, the penalties for a conspiracy offense directly depend on the penalties for the underlying crime that is the subject of the conspiracy. These penalties can vary widely, depending on the severity of the criminal offense that the parties intended to commit. A nearby conspiracy attorney could raise all pertinent defenses to the charges and work to resolve them as favorably as possible.
Although the penalties for a conspiracy conviction can range from minor to severe, a conviction creates a permanent criminal record that can impair your future, both personally and professionally. Working with an Atlanta conspiracy lawyer may allow you to build the most vigorous defense available to you and help you minimize the repercussions of this crime. A skilled attorney could protect your rights and help you achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Schedule a confidential consultation today.