When two or more people agree to commit a crime, each person can be charged with conspiracy to commit the crime. The agreement to commit an unlawful act is itself illegal conduct. Commission of the crime is not necessary for those who agreed to be charged. Conspiracy can be charged as a separate crime under both Nevada and federal criminal statutes.
If the actual crime is committed, the individuals who made the agreement can be charged with both the crime committed and the charge of conspiracy to commit the crime. The conspiracy charge carries separate penalties from the charge for the actual crime. Potential prison time and fines increase significantly when law enforcement files charges for both conspiracy to commit a crime and commission of the crime.
Conspiracy charges are serious and complex. Defending against them requires a skilled, aggressive criminal defense lawyer like Joseph Gersten. When you turn to The Gersten Law Firm, Attorney Gersten puts his investigative background, substantial criminal defense experience, and knowledge of local courts and processes to work. He will assert a vigorous defense and explore every avenue for resolving the charges. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation and case evaluation.
Under Nevada criminal statutes, when two or more people agree to commit a crime, each person can be charged with conspiracy, in addition to any other charges arising from the agreement. The category of the conspiracy charge varies depending on the crime that was the subject of the agreement. Penalties vary depending on the nature of the crime.
One very important aspect of the Nevada charge of conspiracy is that the law does not require that an overt act be done in furtherance of the unlawful agreement. When two or more people agree to commit a crime, each person can be charged with the Nevada crime of conspiracy, even if no steps are taken toward completing the crime. State conspiracy charges differ in that respect from federal conspiracy charges.
Even though Nevada law does not require an overt act, conspiracy charges require that the prosecutor prove the agreement to commit a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, just as with other criminal charges. According to Nevada court decisions, awareness of a conspiracy or even being present when others conspire to commit a crime is not sufficient to support a conspiracy charge.
Some specific conspiracy charges constitute category B felonies in Nevada. They include conspiracy to commit:
Conspiracy to commit murder carries a penalty of two (2) to ten (10) years imprisonment and a fine of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000). For the other category B felonies, the penalty is one (1) to six (6) years imprisonment.
Conspiracy to commit racketeering is also a category B felony. It carries a penalty of five (5) to twenty (20) years in prison and a fine up to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
Conspiracy to commit other Nevada crimes constitutes a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one (1) year in prison and a fine of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000). In addition, two or more persons can individually be charged with conspiracy as a gross misdemeanor if they agree to any of the following:
In federal law, one primary statute covers most conspiracy offenses. It provides that two or more people who “conspire to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States” face a fine under the statute, imprisonment up to five (5) years, or both. The law does require that at least one of the individuals performs an act to carry out the crime. A federal conspiracy charge is different from a Nevada conspiracy charge in that important regard.
Under the statute, if two or more individuals agree to commit a federal crime or defraud the United States, and at least one of them takes a step toward completing the agreement, each person can be charged with conspiracy. As under Nevada law, conspiracy can be charged in addition to other criminal violations, if the crime or fraudulent transaction is completed.
In the event the crime itself is a misdemeanor, the punishment for conspiracy cannot exceed the penalty for the crime. However, that still means that adding a federal conspiracy charge to a misdemeanor criminal charge can, in effect, double the potential penalty.
Federal law also has a number of additional crime-specific conspiracy statutes, which set forth specific laws making it a conspiracy to:
Each of the statutes provides different penalties for the specific offense.
Facing conspiracy charges — whether they are federal or Nevada state charges — is a very serious matter. If conspiracy is charged along with other criminal offenses, the conspiracy charge can significantly increase the prison time and fines that can be assessed.
Nevada charges are especially difficult to defend against, because no overt act in furtherance of the agreement to commit a crime needs to be proven by the prosecutor. Even so, it is possible to assert an aggressive defense, if you are represented by a skillful Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. At The Gersten Law Firm, we vigorously defend against conspiracy charges, whether or not other crimes have also been charged.
Defending against a conspiracy charge can be a complex task. It requires the ability to intensely investigate all the facts of the case, with the goal of demonstrating that the prosecutor cannot establish the necessary elements of the crime of conspiracy. The strategy may include getting evidence suppressed if it was unlawfully obtained by law enforcement.
If you face federal or state conspiracy charges, you need an aggressive, trusted criminal defense attorney who not only understands the laws and local courts, but also knows how to investigate and analyze evidence. If you are facing a conspiracy charge — or other state or federal charges — in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten will evaluate your case based on his extensive investigative background and Las Vegas criminal defense experience and develop a strategy to put forward the strongest defense possible.
Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.