Criminal conspiracy under Texas law is an agreement with two or more people to commit a felony at some point in the future. Conspiracy is a crime in and of itself, meaning it does not matter if you or another person actually commits the planned felony. It is a broad crime, and conspiracy charges are often brought in connection with drug crimes or suspected criminal organizations.
Conspiracy cases can be complicated. Below are the factors considered in a conspiracy case in Frisco, Texas.
- Was There an Agreement?
There must be an agreement between two or more people to commit a felony for there to be a conspiracy. If there is no agreement, there is no conspiracy. The agreement does not need to be in writing, and the prosecution does not need to prove what the specific terms of the arrangement were. Instead, the courts in Frisco will look at the actions of the parties to infer whether or not there was an agreement.
The courts will also consider whether or not the defendant entered into the agreement voluntarily. If you were threatened or forced to participate in the conspiracy, you will not be convicted.
- Was There Intent to Commit a Felony?
The court will consider whether there was intent to commit a felony. The courts can find that you intended to commit a felony, even if you did not know all the details of the crime or all the members of the conspiracy.
If you are entirely unaware that you are participating in a crime, you cannot be charged with conspiracy in Frisco. For example, if you plan and agree to drive your brother to the bank but have no idea that he is planning to rob the bank, you cannot be charged with conspiracy. It is not a defense that you are legally incapable of the felony in an individual capacity.
- Was There an Overt Act?
To be convicted of conspiracy in Frisco, one of the conspirators must have committed at least one substantial act related to the felony. There must have been some concrete steps taken in furtherance of the crime. Merely talking about committing a crime is not enough. Some examples of overt acts include opening a bank account knowing it will be used for illegal operations or renting a get-away car.
Importantly, the overt act itself does not need to be a felony or even illegal. Additionally, the defendant does not need to have committed the overt act. You can be convicted of conspiracy as long as any member of the conspiracy took a substantial step in furtherance of the felony.
- Did You Renounce the Conspiracy?
The court will consider whether you renounced the conspiracy. The court will determine it is a renunciation if you withdraw from the conspiracy before the underlying crime happens and take affirmative action to prevent the commission of the felony. An example of affirmative action would be alerting the police.
The renunciation must be complete and voluntary. The renunciation is not complete if you reinitiate contact with your co-conspirators or continue participating in the conspiracy in any way. The renunciation is not voluntary if it is motivated by:
- An increased probability that you are going to get caught or that the crime is going to be more challenging to commit than you initially thought; or
- A decision to postpone the criminal conduct until a later date or with a different target or victim.
Renunciation is an affirmative defense. If you are convicted of conspiracy, it is admissible as mitigation during the sentencing hearing.
- What is the Penalty of the Underlying Offense?
In Texas, conspiracy is prosecuted one level lower than the most serious felony that is the object of the conspiracy. If you were planning a crime categorized as first-degree murder, the state would prosecute the conspiracy charge as a second-degree felony. When the object of the conspiracy is a state jail felony, the conspiracy is prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor.
Your Frisco Conspiracy Lawyer
Being charged with conspiracy in Frisco is serious. You could face harsh penalties, even if your role in the crime very small. If you are facing conspiracy charges, it is critical to reach out to an experienced Frisco criminal defense attorney.
If you are facing conspiracy charges in Frisco, you should contact the Law Offices of Philip D. Ray. Philip D. Ray is an experienced Frisco attorney who will make sure that your rights are protected. Call Philip D. Ray today to schedule a consultation at (469) 588-6770.