What to Do if You are Charged with Federal Conspiracy

When someone is indicted on federal conspiracy charges, people may assume that the accused and numerous other individuals were involved in a complex scheme that violated federal law. But the truth is that a federal conspiracy charge can be brought when only two persons agree to violate some federal law and then one of them makes an overt act in furtherance of the intended crime. In fact, the “overt act” need not even be an illegal act.  

Federal conspiracy charges can be based on surprisingly little illegal conduct. The ultimate crime the coconspirators agreed to commit does not even need to be completed. The ease with which federal prosecutors can file conspiracy charges against individuals is the reason anyone facing a federal conspiracy charge must work with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer to ensure their legal rights are thoroughly secured. 

Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law in Tampa, have years of hands-on, in-court experience representing individuals and corporate entities charged with federal crimes, including many clients facing federal conspiracy charges. Only the most knowledgeable and proactive defense lawyers should be trusted with your case defense. We understand that your future, your liberty, and your family’s security all depend on the outcome of the criminal prosecution. If you need the services of a Florida federal criminal defense lawyer to defend conspiracy or other charges, contact Stechschulte Nell in Tampa today. 




Defining Federal Criminal Conspiracy 

A federal criminal conspiracy occurs when two or more individuals conspire to commit a federal offense and one of them takes an overt step toward its execution. Unlike the completed offense itself, which requires the actual commission of the criminal act, conspiracy charges focus on the agreement and concerted activity among the co-conspirators to achieve a criminal objective.  

The legal doctrine of criminal conspiracy holds all conspirators accountable for their involvement in the conspiracy, regardless of their individual roles or the ultimate success of the criminal enterprise. 

In its most simple terms, criminal conspiracy punishes the agreement to commit a crime, not just the attempt to commit a crime, or the actual commission of the crime. As you will see in the section that follows, the government needs not just to prove that an agreement to commit a crime existed, but also that one of the parties to the conspiracy acted in some way to advance the plan. That act might be something as mundane as making a phone call, driving to a location relevant to the planned crime, or performing some otherwise ordinarily legal tasks. If it is in furtherance of the conspiracy to violate a federal law, then a federal conspiracy prosecution may result. 


Elements of Federal Conspiracy 

To establish a federal conspiracy charge, prosecutors must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 

  1. Agreement: There must be an agreement, either explicit or implicit, among two or more individuals to engage in conduct unlawful under federal law. This agreement forms the foundation of the conspiracy and serves as the linchpin of the prosecution’s case. 
  2. Intent: Each conspirator must possess the requisite intent to participate in the conspiracy and further its unlawful objectives. This intent may be inferred from the co-conspirators’ actions, communications, and surrounding circumstances. The government’s evidence of the conspirators’ agreement to act in concert may be based on circumstantial evidence, such as both two or more of the conspirators traveling the location where the ultimate crime is to be committed, or a series of coordinated actions all tending to further the illegal objective. 
  3. Overt Act: In furtherance of the conspiracy, at least one conspirator must commit an overt act. This act need not be illegal in itself but must demonstrate a concrete step towards realizing of the conspiracy’s goals. 


Types of Federal Conspiracy Charges 

Federal conspiracy charges can encompass a broad range of criminal activities, involving various federal statutes and offenses. Some common types of federal conspiracy charges include: 

  1. Drug Trafficking Conspiracy: Conspiring to manufacture, distribute, or possess controlled substances in violation of the Controlled Substances Act constitutes a federal drug trafficking conspiracy. 
  2. Racketeering Conspiracy: Engaging in organized criminal activity, such as racketeering, money laundering, or extortion, can lead to charges of racketeering conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. 
  3. Fraud Conspiracy: Conspiring to commit fraud, including securities fraud, wire fraud, or healthcare fraud, constitutes a federal fraud conspiracy, punishable under various federal statutes. 


Defenses to Federal Conspiracy Charges 

Effective legal defenses raised by an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can undercut the government’s case against a defendant facing a federal conspiracy charge. Examples include these: 

  1. Lack of Agreement: Skilled federal defense lawyers know that challenging the existence of a genuine agreement among the alleged co-conspirators can undermine the prosecution’s case, particularly if there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate a meeting of the minds. 
  2. Withdrawal: If the accused federal conspirator can demonstrate that they withdrew from the conspiracy prior to the commission of any overt acts, that evidence can serve as a defense, provided the withdrawal is unequivocal and communicated to other conspirators. 
  3. Lack of Intent: As with all serious criminal offenses, the government must prove that the defendant acted knowingly and intentionally. Arguing that the accused lacked the required intent to participate in the conspiracy or was coerced into involvement will undermine the prosecution’s assertion of criminal intent. 
  4. Entrapment: If the accused can establish that they were induced or coerced by law enforcement authorities into participating in the conspiracy, an entrapment defense may be viable. This defense is most effective if the defendant is a first offender because the defense depends on the fact finder concluding that the accused would not have committed the offense but for the intervention and prodding of the government’s agent. 


What to Do If Facing Federal Conspiracy Charges 

If you are facing federal conspiracy charges, it is imperative to take prompt and decisive action to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your legal rights and mount a vigorous defense.  

  1. Contact a skilled criminal defense attorney, especially a board-certified one, who can provide invaluable guidance and advocate on your behalf throughout the legal process. Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law has years of experience representing defendants in both federal and state court.  
  2. Do not discuss the case or provide statements to law enforcement without the presence and guidance of your criminal defense lawyer. Anything you say will be used against you in court, and often, not as you intended. It is essential to exercise caution and protect your rights. 
  3. Depending on the circumstances of your case, negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors may offer a more favorable outcome for you than contesting the charge through a trial. Every phase of the defense will be more effective if you work with a lawyer who has a reputation as a skilled trial lawyer. The best trial lawyers often negotiate the most favorable plea bargains because their prowess in the courtroom impresses the prosecution with the prospect that the government might lose. Relying on the advice and counsel of an experienced defense lawyer who can assess the feasibility of a plea bargain as a potential option for you requires that you trust your lawyer. Choosing the right lawyer can make the difference between a good result and a prison sentence.  


Contact Florida’s Federal Conspiracy Defense Law Firm

When facing federal conspiracy charges, understanding your legal options is crucial. At Stechschulte Nell, we bring extensive experience and strategic insight to your defense, ensuring every angle is considered to protect your rights and future. Navigating such charges requires skilled representation; trust our expertise to guide you through this challenging time. If you’re confronting federal conspiracy allegations, don’t hesitate—call Stechschulte Nell at 813-280-1244 today and secure a defense tailored to your unique situation. 

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