Prosecutors in conspiracy cases have the task of establishing that someone intentionally and knowingly conspired with others to commit a crime. As a result, common defenses to Maryland federal conspiracy cases often involve disproving intent. A solid defense should cause the jurors and/or judge to question the validity and strength of the prosecution, and an experienced federal conspiracy attorney may be more than up for the task. If you have been charged with conspiracy, speak with a capable attorney that could devote the time and resources necessary to build a solid case for you.
There are a few different common defenses to Maryland federal conspiracy cases an attorney could use when defending a person’s case. One is to argue that the person did not have intent and was not a participant in the conspiracy. To be charged, the accused has to know that there is a plan or agreement because they intend to participate in it. For example, if someone was picked up in possession of drugs, the government might want to show that they knew and participated in a larger conspiracy and the defense might be that the person had no idea. They may have been in possession of the drugs without knowing what others were doing. The defensive strategy depends on what evidence the government is using. If there are no wiretaps, no emails, and no communication, then that opens up some room for the defense to argue that the government cannot show that this person actually knew they were in a conspiracy.
One of the other common defenses to Maryland federal conspiracy cases an attorney could leverage is abandonment and withdrawal. Abandonment is an affirmative defense, which means that the burden is on the defense to show evidence for it. In many criminal cases, the government has to prove the case. If they have met their burden, then the affirmative defense has to offer evidence and show that the person did abandon and withdraw from the plan. In order to be successful as a defense, the person has to have committed an overt act to abandon or withdraw from the conspiracy. One of the easiest ways to show this is when the person is the one who reported the conspiracy to the police. The other evidence for abandonment can be communication with other co-conspirators permanently declaring that the person is no longer going to participate in the conspiracy.
If the individual only knew about a small part of the overall conspiracy, the case can be settled depending on the exact circumstances, but the person can still be found guilty of conspiracy. One of the things the prosecution looks at is the exact nature of what was planned and what was reasonably foreseeable. There can be no willful blindness or “stick your head in the sand” defense. The person can be found to be involved in a conspiracy to conduct whatever small part they knew about, but also there can be sufficient evidence that they are culpable for the larger conspiracy if they were aware of a small part of it.
Evidence like interpersonal communications from the co-conspirators can be used to show the limits or extent of the accused’s involvement in a conspiracy. The defense can also use the fact that the co-conspirators are only distant acquaintances of the accused, so this can be used as an argument that the only has a limited knowledge of the conspiracy.
One of the major things a defense analyzes is the relationship between the individual and the other people involved in the alleged conspiracy. They also want to see exactly evidence the government has against all the actors in the overall conspiracy as well as evidence connecting a potential client to the conspiracy. There may be a wealth of evidence to establish that this conspiracy existed between certain individuals, but the connection to the individual may be very limited to one small communication or one small meeting that may or may not have anything to do with the larger conspiracy. The defense should try to find any weaknesses in the government’s case, including untrustworthy testimony. They could look at the different sources of information for the government and how it relates and connects specifically to the person. If an individual has been charged with federal conspiracy, they should consult an attorney that has knowledge of some of the more common defenses to Maryland federal conspiracy cases and could examine their case in order to determine which defense works for the accused.