Many people in Maryland may not be aware that, when two or more people come together to commit a crime, they can be charged with conspiring to commit the crime, in addition to being charged with actually committing the crime. This means that conspiracy charges carry a penalty of their own and can be imposed even when no one has actually committed a criminal act.
Conspiracy charges can be imposed for violent felony crimes such as murder or white-collar crimes such as fraud. When defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, the court does not need to find that the crime was actually committed. The court must find that the defendants agreed to commit the crime, and took some overt act toward committing it.
Conspiracies also allow for derivative liability. Derivative liability exists when conspirators are punished for the illegal acts carried out by other members, even if they are not actually involved in the commission of the crime. This means that, when one or more members commit some acts furthering the agreement, but not all of the members are involved in the actual commission of the planned crime, then all members of the conspiracy can be held accountable for the acts committed, even if they did not commit them.
It is important to understand the significance of the serious charges one has been accused of and to be aware of the consequences that may arise as a result of a conviction. The penalties for conspiracy vary from state to state and an experienced attorney may be able to mount an aggressive defense against felony charges, including conspiracy.