When many people hear the word “conspiracy,” they think of an elaborate criminal enterprise involving multiple players. It doesn’t have to – and usually isn’t – that complicated.
Under the law, a criminal conspiracy can involve just two people who agree to commit a crime and then take some action toward doing it. They don’t necessarily have to follow through with the crime to face criminal conspiracy charges. Further, the steps they took toward committing the crime don’t have to be, in themselves, illegal.
What are the necessary elements for a conspiracy?
There are three basic requirements for a conspiracy charge. They are:
- An agreement (even an implied agreement) that one or more of the people involved will commit a crime
- An intent to commit a crime
- An “overt act” by one or more of the people involved in the conspiracy that’s a step toward committing the crime
Under Texas law, criminal conspiracy is usually a felony. A specific criminal conspiracy charge is “one category lower than the most serious felony that is the object of the conspiracy.” If that felony is what’s called a “state jail felony,” then the criminal conspiracy charge is a Class A misdemeanor.
It’s crucial to know that if you have been charged with criminal conspiracy, your alleged co-conspirators’ fates may have no effect on the outcome of the charges you’re facing. For example, even if one or more alleged co-conspirators are acquitted, as long as one other person besides you hasn’t, the conspiracy charge can still apply.
Conspiracy charges can be complicated to understand and to deal with as you work your way through the legal system. That’s why it’s crucial to have your own individual legal guidance from the very beginning.