There are only a few criminal offenses where the crime does not actually have to be completed in order for someone to be guilty of the offense. One of these crimes is conspiracy to commit a crime.
It's a complicated offense, and as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I'd like to spend today's post highlighting the law behind it.
What is Conspiracy in Georgia?
The idea behind conspiracy crimes is to prevent heinous and serious crimes from taking place in the first place.
Most states have laws on conspiracy. The only differences exist in punishments and statute language.
What is the law on Conspiracy in Georgia?
The Georgia Code defines conspiracy to commit a crime in Georgia as:
When a person together with one or more persons conspires to commit any crime and any one or more of such persons does any overt act to effect the object of the conspiracy. O.C.G.A. §16-4-8.
Georgia Courts hold that there must be an agreement between one or more persons. This can be something as small as even a mere understanding between at least two people that they will commit a crime together.
Moreover, Georgia Courts hold that the evidence behind the incident must show that the accused people acted with a common intent and purpose. The incident must have happened because of that intent and purpose - not just coincidence.
What is the penalty for a Conspiracy Conviction in Georgia?
In order to be convicted of conspiracy, the accused person or persons must be actively working on the arrangement to commit a crime. If the accused person is found guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime and is convicted, then there are three different options for penalties.
First, if the conspiracy was to commit a felony, then the the accused will be punished as if they were convicted of a felony. This means imprisonment of anywhere from one year to one half of the maximum period of the felony crime they were conspiring to commit.
Second, if the conspiracy was to commit a misdemeanor, then the accused will be punished as if they were convicted of a misdemeanor.
Or third, if the conspiracy was to commit a crime that could be punishable by a life sentence or by death, the punishment will be for imprisonment between one to ten years.
What are defenses to Conspiracy in Georgia?
There are different Georgia Criminal Defenses that apply to an allegation or accusation of conspiracy to commit a crime. Some of these defenses include:
- Proving that the parties never reached an agreement or understanding.
- Proving that only one person planned the crime.
- Proving that the accused person stopped all actions towards planning.