If you are facing drug charges, you should understand the challenges ahead. It is likely that authorities have been building a case against you for some time, and they feel they have enough evidence to go to trial. Drug charges alone carry stiff penalties, but it is often easy for prosecutors to add other charges that could severely increase the length of any sentence if a court convicts you. One of those charges is conspiracy.
Conspiracy is a complex offense that has many components. Since it involves the agreement of two or more people to commit a crime, it is often an easy offense with which to charge someone who is under investigation for drug crimes.
Elements of a conspiracy charge
For authorities to consider a crime to include the element of conspiracy, they would have to provide evidence that you and at least one other person contrived the commission of a crime and then took steps to carry it out. Whether you actually committed the crime is irrelevant to the conspiracy charge. While this sounds simplistic, there are several opportunities for you to defend yourself against conspiracy charges. You may want to begin by understanding each element of the charge, including:
- Agreement: This is not necessarily a written or formal contract and can even be implied based on your actions along with the actions of your alleged conspirators. Someone telling you that he or she is going to commit a crime does not necessarily constitute a conspiracy.
- Intent: The prosecution must prove that you and the others accused of conspiracy had the intention to act together to commit the crime. For example, having a large quantity of drugs in your possession may be evidence of your intent to distribute it.
- Action: For the crime of conspiracy to exist, you and the others involved must have taken obvious steps toward performing the act, such as manufacturing drugs to sell or purchasing a weapon.
The prosecution has the burden of proving each of these elements in your case. However, conspiracy charges are separate from the original drug charges you may be facing. If the prosecution is successful in obtaining a conviction, you risk additional years on your sentence for each charge. Whether you are facing charges at the federal level or by the state of Georgia, you have much at stake and may benefit from the strategies of a skilled attorney.