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Former Assistant District Attorney
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

What counts as a criminal conspiracy?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2020 | Firm News

Many criminal acts have clear-cut terms for those arguing against charges. 

Conspiracies are no different, and knowing the actions that implicate a crime in the eyes of the law can help to make your defense clearer. 


Intent is important when it comes to potentially ambiguous situations. Courts take note of the actions of each member, and whether the charge against you fits the order of events. Talking with someone involved in a crime does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of conspiracy. 

Instead, it is important to divide people who actively help someone prepare for a crime from people who merely listen to someone talk about a potential future plan for something illegal. These are two different situations in the eyes of the law. 


When two or more people agree to commit a crime together, not verbally stating they are conspiring in so many words does not necessarily mean there is no basis for a legal argument against them. Rather, conduct and exchanges between two or more people that implies that they were agreeing to commit a crime also counts for evidence. Even if you do not successfully commit a crime, you may still get charged with conspiracy. 

Planning or actions? 

When it comes to conspiracies, actions matter. In some circumstances, merely discussing a hypothetical idea does not meet the definition for a conspiracy, especially if it gets misinterpreted. For example, discussing an idea while inebriated and never acting on it is not a conspiracy. Taking steps to further arrange for a plan to happen, like renting a getaway car, is more likely to work against your defense in court.