Conspiracy is a serious offense, and if you find yourself facing these charges, it may benefit you to consult with an experienced Virginia federal conspiracy lawyer immediately to mount an early defense and assert your rights. Virginia federal conspiracy attorneys have experience litigating these and other alleged violations of the US Code, and an experienced Virginia federal criminal lawyer is standing by to learn more about your case.
Federal conspiracy charges can stem from an incomplete offense for which authorities lack evidence to charge a person with the underlying crime. In other words, someone can be charged with a conspiracy offense without having committed the crime to which the charges are related.
For instance, if a person is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, they need not have actually committed, or be charged with committing the fraud. Rather the prosecution will only need to demonstrate, among other elements, that the accused played some part in furthering the crime or attempted crime, and that they were aware of the alleged conspiracy to commit the offense. This applies even when the underlying offense was not carried out.
In some cases, even a simple agreement, in addition to some further elements of the offense, could be viewed by the court as conspiracy. This differs from the charge of “aiding and abetting,” which allows the prosecutor to charge a person who “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures the commission of a federal offense as a principal” (i.e. as a person who actually committed a federal offense).
Conspiracy charges add an extra punishment to underlying crimes. If the case involves co-defendants, there will most likely be subsequent conspiracy charges as well. Whether prosecutors are more interested in conspiracy charges or the underlying crime is generally irrelevant. They are likely to pursue the greatest level of sentencing they can for any criminal act that they prosecute.
Conspiracy charges can apply to any number of individual offenses, depending on the circumstances. Some crimes, such as securities and commodities fraud have specifically designated conspiracy to commit the crime as an offense under the statute.
A Virginia federal conspiracy attorney can investigate the strength of the evidence against their client and determine whether they were properly charged and whether their conduct meets all of the elements required under the law for a conspiracy charge.
Prosecutors sometimes bring conspiracy charges to try all accused conspirators together in a joint trial. This legal maneuver is known as joinder, and places defendants at a disadvantage because they may be unfairly found guilty by association with co-conspirators.
An experienced Virginia federal conspiracy attorney can argue that they should be tried separately due to certain exceptions to joinder for federal conspiracy charges. This procedure is called severance. This is just an additional reason why it is essential that they work with a seasoned Virginia federal conspiracy lawyer.
Prosecutors can also lump all alleged conspirators together under the theory of vicarious liability. This is when each conspirator may be held liable for the subsequent acts of fellow conspirators. Thus, a conspirator who backs out of an illegal scheme before an offense is committed can be held just as liable as those who actually commit the crime and can face the same heightened penalties.
This is why it is critical that someone has an experienced Virginia federal conspiracy lawyer fighting on their behalf, and working to help them fight the conspiracy charges.
Virginia’s experienced federal conspiracy attorneys understand that conspiracy charges are frightening and humiliating. That is why you can rely on your attorney to do their best to investigate your case. A determined legal advocate can review all of the relevant evidence and can communicate with potential witnesses, in order find evidence that can bolster your case. If you have been charged with conspiracy, a Virginia federal conspiracy lawyer can fight passionately to help clear your name in court.