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If you have been charged with conspiracy, your case must be handled with care. NJ conspiracy charges implicate many other subtle but complex areas of law. These include codefendant and severance issues. The related charges of financial facilitation and racketeering must also be carefully studies as they are also often implicated. I have defended conspiracy in several contexts including drug distribution and financial crimes. You should consult with an experienced defense attorney at the outset if you are facing NJ conspiracy charges.
New Jersey Conspiracy Law
NJSA 2C:5-2. Conspiracy
First, conspiracy requires that two or more people be involved. You cannot conspire with yourself . The charge also requires some kind of agreement. The purpose of that agreement must be to either:
- Engaging criminal activity; or
- Assist another person or people in planning or attempting to engage in criminal activity.
Financially assisting the commission of a crime also constitutes conspiracy. What if you conspire with someone who is conspiring? In other worse, how far does the chain extend? There are limits to the “conspiratorial relationship.” The limit is that the person with that you are conspiring with is also conspiring with a third party to commit the same offense. It is not necessary that you even know who the 3rd party is.
Does a series of crimes create separate conspiracy charges ? If a person conspires to commit a number of crimes, he or she can only be convicted of one conspiracy. However, each offense must be the goal of the same conspiracy or agreement. If they can be considered separate such agreements, you can be convicted of separate conviction offenses. It is not a defense if the some goals of the conspiracy would not be crimes. Only one of the goals of the relationship be to commit a crime. This commonly applies in business, tax, and financial crimes.
New Jersey Drug Conspiracy Charges
Conspiracy and drug charges often go hand in hand. This is especially so in the context of CDS prescription pill fraud. A common fact pattern includes when one person drops off a script at a pharmacy and another goes in to pick it up.
This obviously also applies in drug distribution cases. If you have been charged with drug conspiracy in NJ, call now to speak with an experienced NJ drug charge defense lawyer.
- No overt act. This defense only applies to third and fourth degree offenses. It does not apply to drug distribution charges. For such charges, the state must prove that you actually did something to accomplish the goals of the conspiracy.
- Renunciation. Walking away from the conspiracy can be a defense. This is a difficult defense to establish. The burden is on you to prove this. You must have abandoned the conspiracy. You must attempt to stop the crime from occurring. Your abandonment of the conspiracy must be complete.
Duration of Conspiracy
Conspiracy charges can only be based on activity that occur during the actual conspiracy. How long does a conspiratorial relationship last? It lasts until the agreement is completely abandoned. In non-drug distribution cases, it is over if no one commits an overt act. This also only applies to third and fourth degree offenses.
There is also a communication requirement. This means that you must inform the co-conspirators that you are done with the relationship. Another way to meet this requirement may be to go to the police and cooperate.