For those who have been accused of federal conspiracy, it is important to put forth the strongest defense possible, as a conviction carries a number of serious and life-altering penalties. With this in mind, the following are some potential defense strategies according to a Virginia federal conspiracy lawyer. For assistance with your case, call and schedule a consultation today.
The principal element in every conspiracy case is an agreement to conspire. For this reason, an attorney must look for evidence that no agreement existed. In order to do that, an attorney needs to know what evidence the prosecution has that they think proves there was an agreement.
Therefore, it really depends on the nature of the prosecution’s evidence and how we can potentially rebut that evidence.
There is a two-part answer to that question. First, if a person never agreed to participate in a conspiracy, then that is clearly the strategy to defend against the charges. The defense has to try to either rebut government evidence or introduce evidence of their own that no such agreement actually existed.
If a person initially agrees to be a part of a conspiracy, then affirmatively abandons his participation by notifying at least one co-conspirator of their withdrawal from the plan, then that is not a defense. Once someone makes the agreement to conspire, you have committed the crime. Even if it is an ongoing conspiracy of which someone is no longer a part, they can still be found guilty of conspiracy.
It depends on which part of the conspiracy the person knew about. If the person knew about a part that did not involve criminal activity, and they could reasonably believe it would not ultimately involve criminal activity, then that may be good evidence of innocence for trial. However, if someone only knew about a small part of the plan that did involve criminal activity, then it is not enough to be a defense to conspiracy.
The first thing the defense has to do is figure out what evidence the government has. Once they have figured that out, the defense attorney and the accused need to try to take that evidence apart to look for alternative explanations to anything negative that the government is going to introduce at trial. An attorney needs to look for possible inconsistencies and admissibility issues in that evidence.
For example, if the search warrant was improperly executed or obtained, and evidence was obtained through the search warrant, then an attorney could challenge the validity of the evidence. There is no limit to the number of defenses that might be available, but the specific defense strategies and investigations depend largely upon what kind of case it is and what kind of evidence the government is attempting to introduce.
The most important thing to look for in an attorney in these kinds of cases is experience. When looking for a lawyer, you want someone for whom the learning curve is going to be small or non-existent. You want someone who can hit the ground running, who knows what evidence to look for and how to fight the charges, because you only get one shot at trial. Your one opportunity for trial needs to be done the right way.