Being charged with federal conspiracy is a serious situation, with severe repercussions if convicted. Below, a Virginia federal conspiracy lawyer discusses the specific penalties you could face, and some aggravating factors that could have an impact on your case. To learn about what you may be facing and begin building a defense, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
There are a number of different factors that determine potential penalties as there are several different conspiracy statutes in the federal code. The penalties you face will therefore depend upon under which one you are convicted. Most felony conspiracy is under 18 U.S.C. Section 371, which is the code where a conspiracy conviction comes with a penalty of no more than five years in prison.
However, if the conspiracy conviction is for drugs, then generally speaking you are subject to the same penalty as you would for the underlying offense. For example, if you are accused of conspiracy to commit an offense that carries a mandatory 10 year sentence, then you will receive a 10 year sentence.
There are many conspiracy statutes and all of them contain different penalties. The exact penalties to which you will be subject really depend upon the crime with which you are charged.
In addition, in some cases you could face the possibility of restitution if the victim lost money as a result of the crime. Restitution is when the victim is repaid or otherwise compensated for his loss, to restore him to where he was before the loss. Forfeiture of property or money is also possible in conspiracy cases. The specific penalties really depend on the activities alleged to have occurred.
Under the sentencing guidelines, which govern how prison time is allocated in all federal convictions, there are aggravating and mitigating factors that can affect your sentence.
An aggravating factor might be an important role you played in the conspiracy, as opposed to just being one of many who were involved. If you were the leader of the conspiracy, that could be considered an aggravating factor that would add points to your federal sentencing guideline calculation, which would add to the projected range of your sentence.
Similarly, there are mitigating factors, such as having a de minimus role in the scheme. In that situation your sentence would be lower because points would come off your sentencing guideline calculation due to the fact that the role you played had almost or no impact on the crime.