Criminal Conspiracy

Criminal conspiracy is a crime that can relate to many other criminal offenses, including possible drug charges, white-collar crimes, or crimes of violence. Texas state and federal conspiracy statutes are both reasonably broad, so it is easy for prosecutors to file these types of criminal charges.

People may face conspiracy charges even when they did not directly participate in alleged underlying offenses. Many prosecutors will file conspiracy charges to try and get some alleged offenders to testify against suspected masterminds or ringleaders of larger criminal conspiracies.

Law Offices of Richard C McConathy Criminal Conspiracy

Criminal Conspiracy Defense Lawyer in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, TX

If you believe that you might be under investigation for or have already been charged with a criminal conspiracy in Denton, you will want The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy working to serve your interests. Our firm is capable of handling either state or federal charges. We can then better examine your case and explain your legal options.

Call (940) 222-8004 or contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas. We can help you better understand the nature of your charges and also examine your possible defense options.

Texas Criminal Conspiracy Penalties

Texas Penal Code § 15.02 establishes that a person commits a criminal conspiracy offense if, with the intent that a felony be committed, they agree with one or more people that they or one or more of them engage in conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, and they or one or more of them perform an overt act in pursuance of the agreement. An agreement constituting a conspiracy can be inferred from the acts of the parties.

It is no defense to prosecution for criminal conspiracy that:

  • one or more of the co-conspirators was not criminally responsible for the object offense;
  • one or more of the co-conspirators has been acquitted, so long as two or more co-conspirators have not been acquitted;
  • one or more of the co-conspirators has not been prosecuted or convicted, has been convicted of a different offense, or is immune from prosecution;
  • the alleged offender belongs to a class of people that by definition of the object offense is legally incapable of committing the object offense in an individual capacity; or
  • the object offense was actually committed.
 

A criminal conspiracy offense is one category lower than the most serious felony that is the object of a conspiracy. If the most serious felony that is the object of a conspiracy is a state jail felony, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

Federal Criminal Conspiracy Penalties

Under 18 U.S. Code § 371, when two or more people 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 those people act to effect the object of the conspiracy, they can be fined up to $250,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years. The United States Code contains dozens of criminal conspiracy statutes.

18 U.S. Code § 371 is the federal law prohibiting the commission of any federal crime. Other sections outlaw conspiracy to commit specific forms of misconduct, ranging from civil rights violations to drug trafficking.

Conspiracy is a separate offense under most of these statutes, regardless of whether the conspiracy accomplishes its objective. The various conspiracy statutes, however, differ in several other respects.

18 U.S. Code § 371 has two prongs. One outlaws conspiracy to commit a federal offense; a second, conspiracy to defraud the United States.

While 18 U.S. Code § 371 conspiracies are punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years, other kinds of conspirators can often face more severe penalties. Many drug trafficking, terrorism, racketeering, and many white collar conspirators face the same penalties as the people who committed the underlying substantive offenses.

Denton County Criminal Conspiracy Resources

State v. Colyandro, 233 S.W.3d 870 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007) — In 2005, two Travis County grand juries presented indictments charging three men with, among other things, conspiracy to violate the Election Code. On June 27, 2007, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a 5-4 decision to affirm the Third Court of Appeals’ judgment to affirm the decision of a trial judge to quash the conspiracy charges. The trial judge agreed that the criminal conspiracy statute does not apply to offenses defined outside the Penal Code, and Judge Michael E. Keasler authored the opinion of the Court with Presiding Judge Sharon Keller and Judge Tom Price authoring concurring opinions and Judge Cathy Cochran authoring a dissenting opinion.

Federal Conspiracy Law: A Brief Overview — The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress that provides policy and legal analysis to committees and members of both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. View the full text of this January 20, 2016 report that provides a helpful overview of federal conspiracy charges. You can learn more about the possible sanctions in these cases as well as how federal conspiracy charges are related to other crimes.

Barber v. State, 764 S.W.2d 232 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989) — Bull Barber, Buddy Barber, and Jean C. Brown were convicted by a jury of engaging in organized criminal activity, but the Texarkana Court of Appeals found the evidence insufficient to support the conviction and reversed. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, En Banc disagreed. The charge sets out the only possible combination the jury could find had been formed, one consisting of the five co-defendants. The jury was therefore authorized to find only that specific combination had been formed. The jury returned a finding of guilty as to Bull Barber, Buddy Barber, and Jean Brown, but Wade Navarre and Bob Cunningham were acquitted. In this case, the Court of Appeals found that the evidence was sufficient to connect Bull Barber, Buddy Barber, and Jean Brown to the theft of crude oil, but that there was insufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that all three appellants “participated in a combination with Bob Cunningham and Wade Navarre to commit or conspire to commit theft.” In other words, the Court of Appeals found the evidence insufficient to establish the existence of the underlying combination due to the acquittal of Cunningham and Navarre. Therefore, the question that must be answered was: When a jury is charged that only five actors formed a criminal combination, and those five are tried jointly, can the convictions of any of the defendants stand if one or more is acquitted? The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, En Banc answered that question in the affirmative. In light of all the evidence on record, some of which was not included in the Court of Appeals’ summary, there was sufficient evidence to support the allegations that a combination was formed and operated during the continuing oil movement scheme. The combination established, the evidence also reflected that each appellant conspired to commit the offense of theft as charged in the indictment. The judgment of the Court of Appeals was vacated and the cause was remanded to that court for consideration of appellants’ remaining points of error.

Brown v. State, 576 S.W.2d 36 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979) — Marvin Edward Brown, Jr., was charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit capital murder for the promise of remuneration, and the charging portion of the indictment is set out in the margin. He went to trial jointly with the co-conspirators mentioned in such indictment upon his plea of not guilty. The jury found him to be guilty as charged and the court assessed his punishment at confinement for 18 years. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, Panel No. 3 noted that Section 15.02 holds that a person commits criminal conspiracy when, with felonious intent, they agree with one or more people to commit an offense and then one of the group does an overt act in pursuance of the agreement. Thus, the corpus delicti of conspiracy must contain a showing of agreement to commit a crime. In the instant case, there was no showing at trial beyond the confession itself that there had been an agreement to commit the murder. When there is no corpus delicti, a confession cannot stand. Had there been some showing of concerted activity directed toward commission of the offense, or had someone come forward to testify as to the existence of the agreement, the confession would have been sufficient to sustain the conviction. Absent any evidence of the corpus delicti of conspiracy, outside the extrajudicial confession itself, the conspiracy conviction founded on that confession cannot stand. The motion for rehearing was granted; the judgment of affirmance was set aside; the judgment of conviction was set aside and in view of the insufficiency of the evidence to support a finding of guilt, the judgment was reformed to show an acquittal.

Find A Denton County Defense Attorney for Criminal Conspiracy Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Do you think that you might be under investigation or are you already facing charges related to criminal conspiracy in the greater Denton County area? Make sure that you are taking steps now to secure the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (940) 222-8004 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Denton, Frisco, Lewisville, Flower Mound, and surrounding areas of Denton County, Texas.