Conspiracy is often an incredibly serious charge that can result in severe consequences. As soon as an individual knows they are facing such a charge, it is pertinent that they contact an experienced Maryland federal conspiracy lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable federal lawyer in Maryland will be able to effectively fight for you and assist in minimizing any penalties you may be facing. The legal system does not take a conspiracy charge lightly, making the aid of an attorney invaluable.
Conspiracy is when two or more individuals engage in an agreement to commit an unlawful act with the intention of carrying it out. If somebody is charged with conspiracy, it means that they have been criminally charged and would be prosecuted for an allegation that can carry jail time and severe consequences, with both monetary penalties and a potential for incarceration.
Conspiracy, unlike any other crime, is what is called an inchoate crime. An inchoate crime is a crime that has not been carried out. For example, if two people sit outside and watch the schedule of an armored truck every day at one o’clock for a week to see it’s schedule, and then decide that when the driver goes in for coffee they will grab the money in the back, it is charged as a conspiracy. Even if, at the last second, the individuals decide not to do it, it is still conspiracy. Those individuals can then be charged, prosecuted, convicted, and put in jail for conspiracy because they had an agreement to commit a criminal act with the intent to carry it out, even though the act was never actually committed.
The most common way that Maryland federal conspiracy attorneys see this offense charged is in the dealing of drugs and narcotics. Frequently, there will be one individual that is undercover, maybe an individual who is an informant wearing a wire or recording the encounter. Even though no drugs are ever received, sold, or purchased, the fact that there was an agreement with the intent to carry it out is sufficient.
The other way that is much rarer, but gets much more publicity, is murder-for-hire cases. When two individuals try to get into an agreement to kill somebody, because it is usually not one person by themselves, there could be solicitation for murder. This is when an individual tries to hire or ask someone to commit the crime, but it is also conspiracy to commit murder because two people are entering into an agreement to kill somebody.
An individual can be convicted of both a conspiracy as well as the crime itself, because conspiracy is a separate act. A conspiracy is when an individual comes to an agreement with another individual. That, in and of itself, is often seen as a higher level of criminality and criminal element. The prosecution will want to punish that separately. They can prosecute, convict, and sentence an individual separately from the actual act itself, whether or not it is committed which is why it is important to have a federal conspiracy lawyer in Maryland there to build a defense.
The legal penalties an individual would face depend on the actual offense itself. Anyone charged with conspiracy to commit something faces the same penalty as if they committed the crime. The scale of the conspiracy determines the scale of the offense and subsequent penalties. The penalties are completely based on what the agreement was to do. Aggravating factors do not normally come into play when discussing a conspiracy conviction.
In sentencing, whatever the charge may be, an individual is always exposed to the maximum allowable penalty for that charge. It is completely up to the nature of the charge. Many judges have discretion as to whether to impose some, none, or the entire sentence, and what type of probationary conditions to impose after a release. There are some charges that carry a minimum mandatory sentence, but most charges are left to the discretion of the court.
Bail is not designed to punish an individual or their family and there are a couple of purposes for bail. First, to ensure an individual’s appearance at trial, and then to ensure public safety. When looking at a bail, a few different factors will be observed. The first element is flight risk, or risk to not appear in court. Prosecutors will look at where the individual lives, whether they are a resident of the state, where the incident happened, whether they are a citizen, if they have a foreign citizenship of another country, and if they have a prior history of failure to appear in court. These types of things establish whether they are going to show up at court. They will consider if they have significant ties to the community, if their job or family are there, or if they have resources there.
The second consideration for bail or bond is whether or not there is a risk of danger to the community. To make that determination, they look at the history of the individual and if it is a violent history or if they have previous gun charges or weapon charges. They will also determine if there is a particular individual at risk in their case. A factor to consider is whether somebody could be released on bond or whatever it may be.
Another factor is the nature of the charge itself, which is related to flight risk. If somebody is facing a charge that could put them jail for the next 40 years, that increases the likelihood that they will act in fear and fled. If someone is facing a year of incarceration maximum, the likelihood to flee the country is slim to none. These are all factors that go into deciding what to do about the bond and when the individual should be released.
Conspiracy is an uncommon and unique type of charge that does not come across the table of every attorney that does this type of work. Unlike a run-of-the-mill theft or drug possession case, with conspiracy an individual will need to have someone that understands how conspiracy cases are treated, knows what elements are needed to prove the conspiracy, and has the relationships with prosecutors and judges to be able to resolve the case. A Maryland federal conspiracy attorney that is not specifically geared and focused in this area of law is not going to have the foundational elements necessary to properly address and handle defending these types of cases.