The word “conspiracy” is a common enough word in the English language. Books and movies plots often center on complicated conspiracies. We also frequently refer to something as a conspiracy when it seems as though nothing is going as planned or nothing appears to be on our side. What does the word conspiracy mean though when used in the context of a crime? If you have been charged with conspiracy, or you are the loved one of someone who has been, you need to know exactly what the legal definition of “conspiracy” is.
Nebraska Revised Statute 28-202 is where conspiracy is defined in Nebraska, reading as follows:
“A person shall be guilty of criminal conspiracy if, with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a felony:
(a) He or she agrees with one or more persons that they or one or more of them shall engage in or solicit the conduct or shall cause or solicit the result specified by the definition of the offense; and
(b) He or she or another person with whom he or she conspired commits an overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy.”
What does all of that actually mean in layman’s terms? It means that in order to be found guilty of conspiracy in Nebraska the prosecutor must prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Those elements include:
· You must have had the “intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a felony” at the time you allegedly committed conspiracy
· You agreed with someone else to commit the underlying felony or to find someone else to commit the felony.
· You, or another “conspirator,” did something to indicate you planned to go through with the crime.
For example, assume that you and a friend decided to break into your old school and steal some computers. In preparation for the break-in you purchased bolt cutters at a local hardware store but before you could go through with your plans your friend became very ill and was hospitalized. Analyzing the “crime” we find that:
· The break-in and theft would both likely qualify as the required underlying felony.
· The second element is satisfied because you both agreed to commit the crime.
· Purchasing the bolt cutters would probably be seen as the required “overt act”
The severity level of the offense, and consequently the potential punishment you face, if convicted of conspiracy is determined by the underlying felony. Conspiracy is charged at the same level as the highest felony involved. For example, if the underlying felony in the case is a class IC felony you will be charged with Conspiracy as an IC felony
If you have been charged with Conspiracy in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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