Federal Conspiracy Charges Defense Attorney
Federal prosecutors are often faced with a challenging prospect in difficult cases where they lack solid evidence. One favorite tool for some federal prosecutors to use to maximize sentencing or win a case is to charge someone with federal conspiracy. Federal conspiracy is a broad term used to describe crimes that were planned, but may or may have been committed. A federal conspiracy charge allows the government to indict a large number of people connected to one or more crimes.
What is Federal Conspiracy?
Federal conspiracy is defined under the statute 18 USC 371. The statute makes planning to commit a federal crime illegal. This doesn’t mean you are charged with federal conspiracy because you committed a crime. It means that you worked with other people to conspire to commit a federal crime.
According to the statute, it is illegal for more than two people to plan to commit a federal crime or defraud the federal government. Also, you or a co-conspirator must go a step further in the planning of the federal crime. This means they try to make the crime happen. The federal government cause this an overt act.
A Federal Prosecutor Must Prove Conspiracy Occurred
A federal prosecutor isn’t required to prove you or a co-conspirator committed a federal crime. They aren’t required to show that you took an overt step to make the crime reality. Another thing a federal prosecutor isn’t obligated to prove is that you and any alleged co-conspirator had a written or oral agreement to commit a federal crime.
Here is what a federal prosecutor is required to prove to convict you on federal conspiracy charges:
• You entered into an agreement with one or more persons.
• That agreement was to commit a federal crime or defraud the government.
• A co-conspirator to a step to initiate the plan. That initial step was an overt step to commit a federal crime or defraud the government.
In the second element, where a prosecutor must prove the intent to commit a federal crime, the prosecutor explains the crime. There are many common conspiracy crimes such as:
• Restrain trade
• Federal health care offense
• Submit one or more fraudulent claims to a federal agency
• Seditious conspiracy
• Deprive a person of their civil rights
• Drug trafficking
Sentencing Guidelines for a Federal Conspiracy Conviction
Federal conspiracy has specific punishments. These penalties are found in the sentencing guidelines. These guidelines determine the minimum and maximum imprisonment a person faces if they are convicted of federal conspiracy.
• Criminal penalty outlined under 18 USC 371. This is five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both penalties.
• Criminal penalty for the underlying offense. The term “underlying offense” refers to the crime you did or planned to commit. Thus, the sentence depends on the crime.
• Criminal penalty for misdemeanor offense. If the federal crime or attempt to defraud the government was a misdemeanor offense, you can’t be sentenced to more time that outline in that statute.
The judge could seize your property under forfeiture laws. Another option is to order you to pay restitution.
Defenses to Federal Conspiracy Charges
It may not seem like it, but there are a lot of federal conspiracy defenses. The specific defense used in your case will depend on facts and evidence. One common defense includes withdrawal of the federal conspiracy. This means that you did participate, but you changed your mind and took steps to withdraw from the conspiracy. Other defenses include attacking the elements of the case and innocence.
Contact Our Law Offices for Help with Your Federal Conspiracy Case
Federal conspiracy may seem like a simple case to win without getting legal help because a federal prosecutor has no case. There was no verbal or written agreement. Besides, you’re completely innocent. However, a federal conspiracy case isn’t always as simple. You may be innocent, but the prosecutors will work hard to convince a jury you’re guilty.
Whether you are suspected of or officially indicted on federal charges, contact our law offices. We are experienced in fighting federal conspiracy charges. We understand how to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence at trial and get the case dismissed. Contact us today.