What elements are necessary in conspiracy cases?

If you live in Tennessee and you are facing charges for criminal conspiracy, you can be convicted even if you did not carry through with the actual crime. However, there are several elements that must be in place for something to be considered a criminal conspiracy.

Agreement and intent

A person’s involvement in a conversation about planning a crime is one element. However, the person has to be an active participant. They do not have to actually state, “I intend to commit this crime with you.” Meeting to plan the crime with others can count as an agreement. Intent also matters. Conspiracy charges must involve more than simply associating with people planning a crime or being told about a crime that another person is planning.

An overt act

The person then also needs to do something to advance the planned crime. This is referred to as an “overt act” and under Tennessee and federal criminal law this element is also necessary. An “overt act” does not have to be something that is criminal in and of itself. For example, it might mean buying supplies needed for the commission of the planned crime.

Conspiracy charges

This focus on agreement, intent and an overt act means that people talking casually about how they would plan a certain type of crime with no intention of actually doing it should not be charged. However, people who do commit a crime may be charged with both conspiracy and the crime itself.

If you are facing charges related to conspiracy, you may want to consult an attorney. You might also want to talk to an attorney if you are speaking to law enforcement in relation to an investigation. Sometimes when people are questioned in relation to a white-collar crime, they do not realize that they are under suspicion. If you are charged with conspiracy, the attorney may work with you to craft a defense that could involve demonstrating that you did not perform an overt act or have the intention to commit the crime.