Most allegations that involve an apparent violation of the criminal code generally claim that a person committed a specific unlawful act. However, there are exceptions to this concept. One prominent example is South Carolina’s law prohibiting the formation of a conspiracy. A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act. Police officers can make an arrest, and prosecutors can pursue charges even if those people never perform the act that they plan to commit.
If you have been arrested or charged with this type of crime, a Greenville conspiracy lawyer may be able to assist you. To begin reviewing the details of your case with a seasoned white-collar defense attorney with decades of experience, reach out to our firm today.
Typically, prosecutors must prove that a defendant violated a criminal statute to secure a conviction. An exception to this exists in the laws prohibiting the formation of a conspiracy. According to South Carolina Code § 16-17-410, a conspiracy is an accord between two or more people to take any step toward committing a criminal offense. The same statute says that a conviction can bring a prison sentence of as long as five years. However, in no case can a conspiracy conviction bring a sentence longer than the law permits in cases where a defendant actually committed the crime.
An important concept to remember when considering conspiracy charges is the commission of an overt act. It is not a violation of the law for two people to say, “We should rob a bank.” A conviction requires a prosecutor to show that the two people took steps toward completing that crime, such as obtaining weapons or a getaway vehicle. Remembering that conspiracy charges may exist independently of any other criminal accusations is vital. This usually occurs when an arrest happens during the middle of alleged planning. A knowledgeable Greenville conspiracy attorney could help people better understand criminal conspiracies and the charges they may be facing.
It can be challenging to present successful defenses against conspiracy allegations. Seemingly innocent activities that people undertake that are not illegal on their own may give rise to suspicion in the eyes of police officers or prosecutors. While it is possible to fight back against the idea of joining with another to commit an offense, the law also provides a way for members of a conspiracy to attempt to renounce their participation and gain criminal immunity.
In these situations, an individual admits that they were part of an agreement to commit an illegal act but states that they took adequate actions to withdraw before the crime occurred. People raising this defense must be able to show that they communicated to other conspiracy members that they wanted out of the arrangement and took concrete steps to remove themselves. A Greenville conspiracy attorney could help determine which defense plan brings the best chance for a positive legal outcome and obtain the necessary evidence.
If you are facing allegations that you participated in a criminal conspiracy, it is understandable to be confused. Unlike in many other cases, the prosecutor does not need to prove that you did anything illegal. The mere idea that you had an agreement to commit an unlawful act with another and took a step toward success can be enough for a conviction.
Let a Greenville conspiracy lawyer fight to protect your rights. We could provide more information about conspiracies and investigate whether there are any grounds for the claims made against you. We could also help to determine what defenses may be available and put them into effect in court. Contact the uniquely qualified team at Bill Nettles Attorney at Law for a consultation.