When two or more people agree to commit a crime, they could be charged with criminal conspiracy. The criminal offense in question does not necessarily need to occur. You may face conspiracy charges as long as you were part and parcel of the agreement, even if you played a minor role in the planning of the unlawful act.
It’s worth noting that having knowledge of a criminal offense or associating with individuals involved in illegal activities does not automatically qualify you for conspiracy charges. Certain aspects must be present to amount to criminal conspiracy.
Elements of a criminal conspiracy charge
First, there must be an agreement between two or more individuals to break the law. It does not have to be a direct or formal arrangement. What matters is the shared intention or purpose of engaging in unlawful conduct. Second, either of the people involved must have taken an overt act or a concrete step toward realizing the criminal objective. The actions carried out by a conspirator to achieve the agreed-upon crime do not need to be illegal.
For instance, buying materials for a planned robbery or scouting a location for a crime may constitute an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, and you could be criminally liable.
The potential legal penalties of criminal conspiracy in Ohio
You may be subject to severe legal consequences if convicted of criminal conspiracy in Ohio. The penalties are dependent on the underlying crime. For example, you will be charged with a first-degree felony for conspiring to commit a crime with a maximum potential penalty of life imprisonment, like murder. You could be looking at years in prison and hefty fines if found guilty.
Reaching out for legal representation when implicated in criminal conspiracy charges can help you understand what is at stake and formulate a strategic defense that will increase the odds of a desirable outcome for your case.