We’ve all seen the image of the man with an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. That man goes back and forth deciding on doing the right or wrong thing. If everything goes well, that man will side with the angel and do the right thing. Unfortunately, what people may not realize is that if two people are discussing committing a crime, then a crime has already been committed regardless of whether they go through with it or not. This is called conspiracy, and it can have serious consequences.
In Virginia, if two or more people agree to commit a crime and then take a step toward committing it, they may be charged with conspiracy. The step that they take must indicate that the people involved knew of the plan and intended to commit the crime. For instance, if two people talk of robbing a bank and then drive by the next day to case the joint to get an idea of the layout and map a getaway route, they are now guilty of conspiracy. Even if they choose not to rob the bank, they may be charged with conspiracy to commit the crime because they had taken a step toward completing this crime. If convicted of conspiracy charges, you may face at least some time in jail or prison up to 20 years, depending on the severity of the conviction.
This may come as a surprise to people who are charged with a crime when they ultimately chose to do the right thing. Fortunately for them, these charges can be difficult to prove for the prosecution. An experience Virginia conspiracy attorney can fight the charges and the evidence against you. If you have not committed the actual crime, a jury may be sympathetic to you and ultimately may not convict you. Of course, all of this depends on the specific facts surrounding your case. The Virginia conspiracy attorney will examine the facts against you and let you know how best to proceed. You may be able to get off with a light penalty or even no penalty at all.
If you knew of a given crime and took no steps to stop it, however, the jury may be less sympathetic if the crime ultimately occurred. But since direct knowledge of the crime is an element of conspiracy, an attorney may be able to show that the defendant did not actually think the parties were going to go through with a given crime. If it can shown that the person did not actually have direct knowledge of a crime, the conspiracy charges could ultimately be dropped.
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