Fulton County Conspiracy Lawyer
In many cases, the term conspiracy might seem to apply only to large-scale, multi-person criminal enterprises. However, a conspiracy can be as simple as two people who agree to steal something from a store or business and take a substantial step towards carrying out their plan. Whenever an agreement to commit a crime occurs, and at least one person takes a significant action to further the conspiracy, the people involved may face conspiracy charges. The penalties for a conspiracy conviction can be harsh, so consulting a Fulton County conspiracy lawyer may be in your best interests.
Conspiracy charges can be complicated and, by definition, involve multiple people. Working with one of our dedicated attorneys at Hawkins Spizman can be vital to a positive outcome in your case.
Criminal Conspiracy Under State Law
O.C.G.A § 16-4-8 outlines the criminal offense of conspiracy, which can apply to any unlawful acts. Two or more individuals can face conspiracy charges when they agree that one or all of them will commit a crime, and one of them takes a substantial step to carry out the commission of the crime. Regardless of which person takes significant action toward committing the crime, all persons who were party to the agreement to commit the crime are subject to conspiracy charges.
As a conspiracy attorney may advise, however, conspiracy charges in the local area are not without limits. For instance, individuals may not face more than one conspiracy charge, even if they agree to commit multiple crimes. As long as the crimes that they intend to commit are all part of the same agreement or conspiracy, they only can be charged with a single count of conspiracy.
Abandoning or Withdrawing from a Conspiracy
If individuals indeed abandon or withdraw from an agreement to commit a crime before it occurs, they may be entitled to a defense under O.C.G.A. § 16-4-9. This code section creates a presumption that individuals have abandoned a conspiracy if they explicitly withdraw from the agreement before any co-conspirator takes an overt action to further the conspiracy to commit a crime.
On the other hand, if one co-conspirator takes a substantial step toward completing the crime, such as disabling a security camera or purchasing items necessary to commit the intended crime, then the conspiracy is complete. In this case, the other co-conspirators can no longer withdraw from the conspiracy, so they cannot use the defense of abandonment. A conspiracy attorney may help evaluate whether this defense is available for individuals to use in the defense of their case.
Conspiracy to Commit a Felony Offense
If the objective of a conspiracy is to commit a crime that is a felony under state law, the maximum penalties for the conspiracy charge depend on the penalties for the felony crime under state law. Although all felony convictions carry the potential for at least one year in prison, their maximum imprisonment terms may differ. For instance, a conviction for one felony offense might result in a possible five years of incarceration, whereas a more seriouse felony offense might result in a possible 20 years of imprisonment.
A conspiracy conviction can result in a maximum prison sentence of no more than half (1/2) of the maximum prison sentence for the felony offense that the co-conspirators agreed to commit. Therefore, if the maximum prison term for the crime is 20 years, a conviction for conspiracy to commit that crime carries the potential for a maximum prison term of 10 years. Furthermore, if individuals conspired to commit a crime that could result in death or life in prison, then the maximum prison sentence for conspiracy to commit that crime is 10 years.
Conversely, if individuals agree to carry out a crime that is a misdemeanor or state law, they can face the same potential penalties for conspiring to commit the crime as they could for committing the crime. As a result, these individuals could face up to one year in jail, among other potential penalties.
Talk to a Fulton County Conspiracy Attorney Today
The penalties for conspiracy can be harsh, even if you did not commit a crime or take any substantial step toward committing a crime. Building a strong defense with the help of a Fulton County conspiracy lawyer at Hawkins Spizman can be critical.
By engaging the services of legal counsel from the outset of your case, you may place yourself in a better position to resolve the situation in your favor. Together, we can develop a defense strategy that is most likely to be useful for you.