Facing allegations of a drug crime can be difficult. In some cases, those accused are faced with the challenging task of trying to clear his or her name when there are presumed accomplices involved. Drug charges can range greatly, and they depend on the factors of the situation. When more than one person is involved, this could result in a drug conspiracy charge. Such a charge could result in harsher penalties if a conviction occurs.
What is a conspiracy charge? In general, this occurs when there are two or more people that agree to commit an unlawful act and some action occurred towards the completion of this act. While the actions taken do not need to be criminal, the actions must indicate that the person accused was involved. In other words, this means that they knew of the plan to commit the crime and they intended to break the law. This could result in a person facing conspiracy charges even if the actual crime was never committed.
Take for example drug trafficking. This crime could be a conspiracy, as several suspects could be involved. In order to face this charge, the elements of conspiracy must be met. This includes intent and an overt act. Intent is often proven through an agreement. One must intend to achieve the outcome. This means that merely associating with those involved in the act does not make one a conspirator. With regards to an overt act, one must take a concrete step in furthering the plan. This means that just talking about the crime is not enough; one must take action to help the completion of the crime.
The penalties of federal conspiracy can be harsh, resulting in fines and up to five years in prison. One should also note that a suspect could be charged with conspiracy as well as the completed crimes, resulting in even harsher penalties. Because there is much at stake, it is important that those facing such crimes take the time to understand their rights and options. A criminal defense strategy could help the accused reduce and even dismiss some or all of the charges against them.