Facing Federal Conspiracy Charges in New York?

Seeking Immediate Counsel from a Federal Defense Attorney is Imperative

The earlier you receive expert counsel, the more likely your matter will end favorably. If you’re facing prosecution, contact us immediately.

Federal Conspiracy Charges in New York

As defined within 18 U.S.C. § 371, it is illegal for two or more individuals to plan to commit a federal crime or defraud the federal government. Beyond the agreement, the government must also show that you also took an additional step by committing an “overt act” in furtherance of that conspiracy. Some of the more common underlying federal crimes upon which a conspiracy agreement is based on include racketeering, fraud, healthcare offenses, and drug trafficking.

Hence, the three critical elements of a federal conspiracy are:

  1. an agreement between two or more parties, the goal of which is an offense against the United States government;
  2. the defendant’s intentional joinder in that conspiracy; and
  3. an overt act in furtherance of that conspiracy.

Possible Sentencing & Penalties in New York

Oftentimes, federal prosecutors will indict individuals on broad and vague conspiracy charges where they lack firm evidence of a completed substantive offense. Charging you with a federal conspiracy allows the government to maximize your criminal exposure and potential sentence even where evidence may be weak and a crime may have never come remotely close to fruition. Within the eyes of the law, the conspiracy agreement itself is impactful and consequential and only an experienced federal defense attorney can help you.

The sentencing guideline applicable to a conspiracy charge depends on the crime underlying the conspiracy itself. For example, the penalty for conspiring to commit a crime against the United States is a prison sentence of no more than five years.

Section 371 also indicates that the court may levy a fine in addition to sending the conspirator to federal prison. However, the maximum sentence for a conspiracy whose object is a misdemeanor carries the same penalty as the misdemeanor.

Some conspiracy statutes specify a penalty, while others state that the penalty is the same for conspiracy as it would be for the completed crime. For instance, conspiracy to commit drug trafficking carries the same prison sentence as drug trafficking. In sum, federal drug conspiracy charges are very serious federal crimes which expose the defendant to a substantial period of time in custody. The ability to intervene before court and begin a process of plea negotiations with the government is often key to obtaining the best possible results.

In some cases, motions to suppress based on violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth amendment rights of the defendant are necessary to challenge the government's case and potentially exclude key evidence against the defendant at trial.

How We Fight Federal Conspiracy Charges in New York

A federal prosecutor isn’t required to prove that you or a co-conspirator committed a federal crime. Another thing a federal prosecutor isn’t obligated to prove is that you or any alleged co-conspirator even had a written agreement.

A diligent and insightful criminal defense attorney will poke holes in the government’s conspiracy case, particularly as it relates to the “overt act” element. Federal prosecutors will frequently try to expand this definition, and fit your conduct within it, even where no such act was taken. Pinpointing this evidence, or lack thereof, is crucial towards your successful defense.

A critical part of your defense will include pushing back on the government’s requirement of proving an "actual agreement" between co-conspirators. The “agreement” itself forms the bedrock of any conspiracy charge, whether expressed or implied. Contrary to common misconception, the agreement does not have to be explicit or formal. An agreement formed on a napkin or by a nod will suffice. Even a series of suspicious actions can all be presented as evidence of an agreement. For defendants, understanding this is crucial. It underscores the importance of sharing all details with your defense attorney, no matter how trivial. Even seemingly unrelated events can be tied together by prosecutors to form a conspiracy narrative.

Lack of intent or knowledge is the other significant pillar for a conspiracy charge. Simply being associated with conspirators or being aware of a conspiracy doesn't automatically make one guilty. Prosecutors need to prove that there was an active intent to join the conspiracy and commit the underlying crime. For example, if someone unknowingly rents a room to a group planning a crime, they cannot be charged with conspiracy just because the crime was discussed on their property. There has to be evidence of their active involvement or intent to join the group in the criminal act.

Experienced conspiracy lawyers will explore all avenues to challenge the evidence and demonstrate a lack of intent or knowledge on their client's behalf. This is just one of the many defense strategies that can be employed, depending on the specifics of your case.

Your Defense Begins Now

If you are being prosecuted for a conspiracy, hire a former prosecutor and seasoned federal defense attorney who has dealt with these charges and is well-equipped to fight back. Being charged with a conspiracy is only one small piece of the puzzle. What your defense attorney does afterwards, by way of investigation and creative advocacy, will both increase your chances of successfully walking away from these accusations and shape the rest of your life.

The sooner you put your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more likely your matter will end favorably. Contact The Law Offices of Jason Goldman Law today.

Submit a Confidential Inquiry

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
All submissions are subject to the terms of our Disclaimer