What is a Conspiracy
Conspiracy is a way for prosecutors to prosecute people who agreed to commit the crime with some else. It is an agreement by two or more people to commit the same crime. Conspiracy is a specific intent crime, which means that in order to convict someone of conspiracy they actually have to intend for the agreement to exist. There is no requirement that the crime the defendants agreed to commit actually be done to convict someone of conspiracy. At common law and in federal court, after two or more people agreed to commit a crime there must be some act by the defendant to further the crime before a defendant can be convicted of conspiracy. However under Florida law the prosecutor is not require to show that the defendant did an act in furtherance of the conspiracy, but only that one of the conspirator completed an overt act before the other conspirators may be charged. If you conspire to commit a crime, and then actually commit the crime the state can convict you on both the conspiracy charge and the underlying crime. Courts have ruled that these are separate crimes, and double jeopardy does not apply. Conspiracy is defined in F.S. §777.04.
The penalty for committing conspiracy depends on the crime the defendant conspired to commit. In general the penalty for conspiring to commit a crime is one level below the underlying crime.
If you are accused of conspiring to commit a crime an experienced criminal defense attorney can help defend against these charges. Such defense include a timely withdrawal from the conspiracy. It can also be a defense to conspiracy if a co-conspirator thwarted the purpose of the conspiracy. Defense attorneys also frequently claim that there was no agreement to commit the crime, and the defendant’s mere knowledge or presence of the crime is not enough to convict him of conspiracy.