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Conspiracy To Commit Drug Crimes Is Also A Crime
Under U.S. federal and state law, a person generally must commit an offense before being tried for it. However, there are rare exceptions, and the crime of conspiracy is one. Technically, a person commits the crime of conspiracy by planning to commit another offense. It can be confusing to determine what has actually taken place, though a knowledgeable attorney can help.
Conspiracy is one of a category of crimes that are known as ‘incomplete’ offenses – “attempt” and “solicitation” are two others that are commonly seen. Incomplete offenses are crimes because the underlying offenses are seen as so potentially dangerous or damaging that to make a substantial effort toward completing them is punishable. The major difference between the categories is that one cannot be charged with both attempt to commit a crime and the underlying crime, but one can be charged with conspiracy and the underlying offense.
In the context of drug offenses, conspiracy is most often charged in connection with drug trafficking. Trafficking is seen as particularly dangerous, given the potential for harming others by tempting them into drug usage and addiction; thus, attempting to traffick is worthy of penalty. In Florida, a conspiracy or attempt crime will carry the same weight as the underlying offense, meaning that taking a substantial step toward the crime will be punishable by the same amount of jail time if convicted.
There are two criteria that must be met in your case in order for you to be charged with a conspiracy offense. There must have been intent to commit the underlying crime, and an agreement between you and another party to do so. If one or both of these factors is not present in your case, a conspiracy charge cannot be proven. If they are both present, however, you may face charges for the conspiracy and for trafficking – since they are two different crimes, the Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy does not apply.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine what the best course of action can be for your individual case, given that fact patterns can differ so profoundly. That said, if you have been charged with conspiracy to commit a drug offense, know that in theory, all you need to do is cast doubt on one of the two required criteria. Enlisting a knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate the legal process.
Contact A West Palm Beach Drug Offenses Attorney
If you have been charged with conspiracy to commit a drug crime, know that you are facing potentially serious consequences, even if you did not go through with the underlying offense. A West Palm Beach drug crimes attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help answer your questions and manage your concerns at this frightening time in your life. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.