The agreement by two or more persons is the essence of the crime. If there is no agreement, there can be no conspiracy.

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If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

If, however, the offense, the commission of which is the object of the conspiracy, is a misdemeanor only, the punishment for such conspiracy shall not exceed the maximum punishment provided for such misdemeanor.

A co-conspirator must have knowledge of the agreement and its unlawful objectives, but it isn’t necessary for a conspiracy to succeed in its unlawful objective.  A defendant can be convicted of conspiracy, yet be acquitted of the substantive crime he conspired to commit.

The Element of “Intent”

As with other specific intent crimes, a person’s intention is key. But the court will also care about the mental states of the alleged partners in crime. Other individuals in the conspiracy must intend to agree, and all must intend to achieve the outcome.

Merely associating with people known to be involved in crime doesn’t make you a co-conspirator. For instance, just because your friend tells you he is going to burglarize a house doesn’t mean you are part of the conspiracy. Not unless you also agree to participate by acting as a getaway driver or helping him scope out the property ahead of time.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a federal crime, it is important to contact Cozzo Law immediately.

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