We represent clients facing criminal conspiracy charges throughout the state of New Jersey. Our attorneys focus their practice in Northern and Central New Jersey. If you have been indicted on conspiracy charges in NJ, call our office to schedule a free initial consultation. Our seasoned attorneys served as former prosecutors and their experiences working for the State allow them to advocate for you effectively.
In order for a person to be found guilty of a conspiracy, the object of the conspiracy must be the “commission of a crime.” For example, individuals could conspire to distribute illegal drugs or to steal someone’s car.
In addition, an “agreement” between the defendant and another to commit a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, a defendant needs to act with the purpose, or the conscious object, to promote or facilitate a crime.
Finally, to obtain a conspiracy conviction the state must prove an “overt act” in pursuance of the conspiracy to have been done by a party to the conspiracy. However, the “overt act” requirement does not apply to conspiracies to commit a crime of the first or second degree. It also does not apply to a crime of either distribution or possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.
A co-conspirator may be liable for the commission of substantive criminal acts that are not contemplated by the conspiracy if they are “reasonably foreseeable” as the necessary or natural consequences of the conspiracy. For example, a court may find that a defendant that conspired to rob a bank may be liable for car theft if the defendant’s co-conspirator stole the car to commit the crime.
A defendant can argue renunciation of purpose as an affirmative defense against the charge of conspiracy. The defendant then has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. The renunciation must consist of informing the authorities of the existence of the conspiracy and his or her participation and his or her attempts to thwart the commission of any offense in furtherance of the conspiracy. This renunciation must have occurred voluntarily and completely.
Additionally, for purposes of mitigating one’s sentence, a defendant may submit to the Judge the fact that he or she played a very minor role in the main unlawful enterprise.