Of all the criminal offenses with which someone can be charged, the one that confuses people the most is usually “conspiracy.” Unfortunately, between Hollywood blockbusters and New York Times bestselling authors, the general public’s perception of what “conspiracy” means runs far afield of the true meaning. If you have been charged with conspiracy, an experienced Nebraska criminal attorney can help you understand the nature of the allegations against you and explain what the State needs to prove to convict you of this offense.
What Is “Conspiracy” in the State of Nebraska?
In the State of Nebraska, the criminal offense of conspiracy is governed by Nebraska Revised Statute § 28-202, which reads as follows:
(1) A person shall be guilty of criminal conspiracy if, with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a felony:
(a) He 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 another person with whom he conspired commits an overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy.
(2) If a person knows that one with whom he conspires to commit a crime has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same crime, he is guilty of conspiring to commit such crime with such other person or persons whether or not he knows their identity.
(3) If a person conspires to commit a number of crimes, he is guilty of only one conspiracy so long as such multiple crimes are the object of the same agreement or continuous conspiratorial relationship.
(4) Conspiracy is a crime of the same class as the most serious offense which is an object of the conspiracy, except that conspiracy to commit a Class I felony is a Class II felony.
What exactly does that statute mean? To understand the crime of conspiracy, it helps to keep a few key points in mind. First, you can be charged and convicted of conspiracy even if the crime with which you are charged was not completed. Therefore, to prove a charge of conspiracy, the State only needs to prove that a person intended to cause or commit a felony. The felony does not actually have to have been committed.
To prove a conspiracy, the State must prove the existence of an overt act which leads to the crime. The act must be overt and deliberate but it does not have to be an act which can accomplish the crime, and the act itself may not be criminal at all. For instance, if the underlying criminal offense in the conspiracy is robbing a bank, simply purchasing a black ski mask or a duffle bag could qualify as the “overt act” required to convict you of the conspiracy to commit bank robbery.
To be convicted of conspiracy, you do not even have to know who the other people are in the conspiracy. For example, if you agree to drive a getaway car in a bank robbery and you have never met the people who will actually rob the bank, you can still be charged with the bank robbery. Moreover, it does not matter if the other people in the conspiracy never intended to complete the crime, as long as you agreed to the conspiracy.
How Can a Criminal Attorney Help?
It is important to talk to a criminal attorney about your rights and possible defenses. In Nebraska, for instance, entrapment is a possible defense to a charge of conspiracy. Entrapment requires you to prove that a law enforcement officer induced you to commit the act, and that, if not for this inducement, you would not have committed the crime. Because every criminal prosecution involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, it is always best to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal attorney as soon as you become a suspect or are charged with a criminal offense.
If you have been charged with conspiracy in the State of Nebraska, it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal attorney right away. 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.