Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

What is Criminal Conspiracy in Massachusetts?

Criminal conspiracy is a plan made by two or more people to commit a criminal act, so long as the people involved agreed to commit the act and took action toward its completion. The act itself need not be a crime if those involved intended to break the law. Consider the following scenario: Don and Brenda plan to burglarize a home. They take steps to complete the act – planning the burglary, purchasing face masks and a crowbar, and driving to the house they plan to burglarize. Upon arrival, the would-be burglars are chased away by the unexpectedly at-home residents. Although they didn’t commit burglary, Don and Brenda can still be charged with conspiracy to commit burglary.

Does the Conspiracy Need to be in Writing, or Otherwise Expressly Conveyed?

No. Written proof of Don and Brenda’s plan to commit burglary isn’t necessary, nor is a verbal agreement such as, “I agree to burglarize 501 Sampson Street with you.” If the action of “two or more guilty minds” can be shown, an implicit agreement is usually sufficient evidence to convict. What is an implicit agreement? If there is evidence of an agreement, such as a planning meeting, a witness who claims to have seen Don and Brenda staking out the house in question, or testimony from a Wal-Mart clerk that Don and Brenda purchased two sets of black gloves and a crowbar one day prior to the attempted burglary, the prosecution can argue the existence of an implicit agreement.

Intention Means Everything

In addition to agreeing to commit the unlawful act, all parties must intend to carry out the act. For instance, simply being present when a group of friends agrees to commit a crime doesn’t necessarily make you part of the conspiracy. If, for example, peer pressure makes you say you’ll help friends rob bank, but then you don’t participate in the actual robbery, you probably won’t be charged as a conspirator.  If you’ve been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, contact a Boston defense lawyer today.

Penalties for a Conspiracy Conviction

Depending on the crime that was committed, or that you attempted to commit, you may be facing some tough fines and penalties. If you committed an actual crime, you will likely be charged for the crime itself, as well as for the conspiracy. If the underlying crime was a felony, you may face a mandatory minimum sentence.

In MA, the prosecution is tasked with showing three elements to prove that a conspiracy existed. The three elements are:

  • The existence of an agreement involving the defendant and at least one other person.
  • The purpose of the agreement was to do something unlawful or criminal.
  • The defendant knowingly entered into the agreement to commit an unlawful or criminal act.

If any of the above elements cannot be proven, you have a good chance of avoiding a conspiracy charge. For this reason, and many others, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with conspiracy. Contact a top MA defense law firm today.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Criminal Defense Law Firm

If you’ve been charged with any type of criminal offense, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with crimes for more than five decades. Our experienced defense attorneys will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. We have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. If you’ve been charged with any type of crime, from theft to robbery, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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