Florida law defines conspiracy as an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime, with an intent to actually commit the crime. The agreement can be either express or implied and the charges apply to any criminal act. If you have been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, your best next step is to talk with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney.
What Does the Law Say About Conspiracy in Florida?
Conspiracy is codified in section 777.04 of the Florida Statutes. By way of illustration, if you and your buddy make plans to rob the corner market next Friday night and your buddy does, in fact, rob the corner market that Friday, you could be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.
The law also says that generally, whatever crime is committed, the conspiracy charge will be ranked one level below the actual crime. So, for example, if the crime is a first degree felony, the conspiracy charge would be a second degree felony.
What is Required to Prove Conspiracy?
In order to prove conspiracy against you, the prosecutor must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You intended that the crime would be committed, and
- You agreed or otherwise helped the plan along, resulting in the commission of the crime by you or another conspirator.
Basically, the prosecutor must prove that you made an agreement to commit the crime and you intended that the crime be committed. Under certain circumstances, the prosecutor does not have to prove that you did any other act to further the plan or commit the crime. For example, the prosecutor may not have to show that you drove the getaway car or stood watch while the crime was being committed.
Can I be Charged with Conspiracy and the Actual Crime?
Yes. If you made an agreement with another person to commit the crime and you carried out the crime, then you can be charged with both crimes. So, if you were the one to go into the corner market and take the money from the cash register after planning the robbery with your friend, you could be charged with both robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.
What are the Defenses to Conspiracy?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be defenses available to you. Some common conspiracy defenses include:
- Lack of proof of agreement
- No agreement to commit the same offense
- Merely present at the scene
- Merely aiding and abetting
- Minimal involvement without agreement
- Abandoned any attempt to commit the offense or otherwise prevented its commission
The availability of these defenses will depend on the facts of your case. A competent criminal defense attorney can help sort that out. If you have been charged with conspiracy or other criminal charge, schedule a consult with a Florida criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your rights.