The charge of “conspiracy” is not a criminal charge in and of itself. Someone who is charged with “conspiracy” is charged with assisting another person in the planning or commission of another crime. In Florida State court, a conspiracy charge normally requires that a plan was made and that the participants did some act “in furtherance” of the crime- or some act that made it easier for the crime to be committed. In federal court, there are some instances where a conspiracy charge can be made when the parties only agreed to plan a crime, even if they did no act towards accomplishing the crime.
Conspiracy cases can be frustrating and confusing for defendants because even if they played a minimal role in a criminal activity, they can be charged with the same crime as the person who was the “mastermind” of the crime. Sentences in conspiracy cases sometimes reflect the participation levels of the different defendants, with the more involved defendants being sentenced more harshly, but not always.
For that reason, it is important for people charged with conspiracy to commit any crime to work closely and quickly with their attorneys to determine how they want to approach their cases. In some conspiracy cases, it may be best to insist on a trial. In other conspiracy cases, the client is better served by working with the prosecutor very early in the case and negotiating a plea agreement. As in any case, our goal in a conspiracy case is to determine what the client values the most and to make that value our focus. Most clients understand that obtaining the best result takes time, and are willing to invest the time in working on the case in order to achieve that result. Other clients feel very strongly that they want to resolve the case quickly, and move on with their lives.
Once we determine the goal of our clients, we move forward in the best way possible to reach that goal.