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About James E. Novak
Conspiracy is an extremely broad criminal charge that prosecutors frequently add to charges for other underlying crimes. Some people may face only these charges, but alleged conspiracy offenses are perhaps most common in criminal cases involving controlled substances.
While it only takes the involvement of two people to constitute a conspiracy, prosecutors will attempt to charge as many people as possible for participating in order to get alleged offenders to testify against the individual who allegedly masterminded a plot or is facing the most serious criminal charges. It is important to note that a criminal offense does not actually have to be committed in order for a person to be charged with participating in a conspiracy, and alleged offenders can be accused of this crime for even minimal roles in the alleged conspiracy.
Criminal Conspiracy Defense Lawyer in Tempe, AZ
Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to commit a criminal offense in Maricopa County? Do not attempt to negotiate any kind of plea agreement with a prosecutor until you have first contacted the Law Office of James E. Novak.
Tempe criminal defense attorney James E. Novak is a former prosecutor who now aggressively defends clients in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, and many surrounding areas of Maricopa County. Call (480) 413-1499 right now to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will allow our lawyer to provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.
Overview of Criminal Conspiracy Crimes in Maricopa County
Under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1003, a person commits conspiracy if, with the intent to promote or aid the commission of a criminal offense, he or she agrees with one or more persons that at least one of them or another person will engage in conduct constituting the criminal offense and one of the parties commits an overt act in furtherance of the offense. Proof of an overt act is not be required if the object of the conspiracy was to commit any felony upon the person of another, burglary in the first degree, or arson of an occupied structure.
Alleged offenders who knew or had reason to know that a person with whom they conspired to commit a criminal offense had conspired with another person or persons to commit the same offense can be found guilty of conspiring to commit the offense with such other person or persons, regardless of whether they the identity of the other person or persons. Because of this provision of state law, alleged offenders with extremely minimal roles in alleged conspiracies can face criminal charges even though they were often unaware of the extent of the alleged plots to commit criminal offenses.
Conspiracy convictions are punishable by the same class as the most serious offense which was the object or result of the alleged conspiracy. In other words, a conspiracy to commit a class 4 felony is punishable by the same sentences imposed for class 4 felony convictions, regardless of whether the underlying offense was actually committed.
If an alleged offender conspires to commit multiple criminal offenses, he or she can only face a single conspiracy charge so long as the multiple offenses are the object of the same agreement. The most serious offense conspired to determines the possible sentence if that person is convicted.
State of Arizona v. Usef Latrice Simmons II, 2 CA-CR 2014-0193 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2015) — On November 23, 2015, Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals vacated the convictions and sentences for five counts of using a wire or electronic communication to facilitate a felony or to conspire to commit a drug felony in the case of man convicted of 11 drug-related crimes. The Court found that the evidence presented by the state was insufficient to show that the alleged offender used his cell phone to “facilitate” or “conspire to commit” a felony offense. Rather, the Court found that the state relied solely on evidence that the man used his cell phone to communicate with the undercover agent involved in the case.
Criminal Conspiracy Law: Time to Turn Back From an Ever Expanding, Ever More Troubling Area — View a 1992 William & Mary Law School article that examines the history and current state of the law of criminal conspiracy. The article notes, “No one fifteen to twenty years ago predicted, or could have predicted, the massive and complex "megatrials" that are common today, the major impact of the drug conspiracy laws, or the dramatic structuring by the Supreme Court of the rules of evidence in conspiracy cases.” The article concluded:
The conspiracy offense should be used to punish groups of people for joining together to commit crimes. This seems a basic and somewhat modest proposition. This goal can be achieved best by insuring that defendants receive careful attention individually and not as part of a set of twenty to fifty defendants. It can also be achieved if it is the conspiracy which is punished and not other crimes, albeit related. For those other crimes ample mechanisms exist for punishment, including traditional accountability principles and other substantive offenses. It is time to rein in the conspiracy crime so that it serves its true purpose and does not become a basis for challenging the fairness and process of our criminal justice system.
[[$firm]] | Tempe Criminal Conspiracy Lawyer
If you were arrested or you believe that you could be under investigation in Maricopa County for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to commit a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. The Law Office of James E. Novak can conduct a thorough investigation to challenge evidence in these cases and fight to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
James E. Novak is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tempe who represents clients in Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and several surrounding communities. You can have our lawyer review your case and help you understand your legal options when you call (480) 413-1499 or fill out an online contact form today to schedule a free consultation.