Anyone who is charged with drug conspiracy is almost always prosecuted. The basis for a person to be charged with drug conspiracy is establishing a criminal agreement between two or more people. This is an agreement to commit a crime. There are certain elements required to be charged with the crime of conspiracy. They are an agreement to commit a crime, the intent to commit it, and the execution of the criminal agreement.
Two or more people agree to commit a crime and this is often considered an express agreement. When the government wants to prove a drug conspiracy, it is acceptable for them to prove there was an implicit or indirect agreement. With this type of agreement, it is obvious from the facts of the case that all those involved planned to or did participate in a crime. It does not have to be explicitly stated. People who are part of a drug conspiracy do not need to know all the details of the crime. They only need to agree or imply they participated in the action for illegal reasons. A participant does not have to know the identity of all others involved with the crime. Many people convicted of conspiracy never knew one another directly. All participants are connected with the common goal of committing a crime.
To establish this element of a drug conspiracy, it will need to be shown a defendant agreed with the commission of the crime and intended to commit the criminal offense associated with it. This is intent. Courts have held that a prosecutor only needs to show a defendant intended to participate in forbidden behavior. They do not need to establish the defendant was aware of the circumstances.
When pursuing a conspiracy conviction, prosecutors have certain advantages. A conspiracy is considered a punishable criminal offense even if the crime is not completed. This provides prosecutors with the opportunity to use evidentiary rules to win convictions. Each participant is believed to be authorized by the other participants to speak and act for them Any statements made by any participant can be used at trial to prove a single defendant was part of the drug conspiracy. All participants can be tried in one trial. The federal government can prosecute in any United State District Court even if the act was not identified as a crime. Prosecutors are also permitted to use indirect evidence to establish a drug conspiracy. Each participant is responsible for any reasonably foreseeable future crime committed by a participant to continue the conspiracy.
Should a defendant be able to prove they withdrew from the conspiracy or renounced it, they may be found not guilty. This requires proof the defendant could have hindered the conspiracy’s success and their abandonment of it was voluntary and complete.
This is when a participant informs other participants of the conspiracy that they are going to withdrawal as well as cease and desist from the conspiracy. Once this notice is made to the rest of the participants, it enables a defendant to possibly avoid criminal sanctions that could be part of future crimes. This defense can’t undo crimes that have already been committed. It requires a defendant to perform affirmative acts that are not consistent with the goal of the conspiracy. It must be established the defendant effectively communicated his abandonment with the other drug conspiracy participants.
This legal defense is seldom utilized, but it is successful in certain circumstances. A defendant won’t be convicted of drug conspiracy if all the participants agree to commit an act they believe is illegal. It needs to be established that it is actually not a crime for them to commit their planned act. If there is not a law prohibiting their conduct, a drug conspiracy does not exist. This is the case even if all the participants were willing to break the law. Prosecutors can’t use drug conspiracy laws to convict a person based on their conduct if their participation in the offense occurred, but their behavior can’t be considered criminal.
The government has significantly increased the number of its prosecutions for drug conspiracies. Federal drug-related investigations are taking place all over the country. New arrests and accusations occur daily. Anyone being charged with federal drug conspiracy needs to contact an experienced attorney immediately. They know how drug cases are investigated as well as prosecuted. Protecting their client’s rights and providing the best possible defense will always be their focus.
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