A criminal conspiracy is when two or more individuals agree to commit an unlawful act and take some action towards acting it out. The action taken to move the crime forward itself does not need to be a crime, but it must be an indicator that the conspirators had a plan, knew about the plan, and intended to break the law. A person can be convicted of a criminal conspiracy even if the actual crime never occurred.
Being charged with weapons conspiracy can have severe consequences, leaving permanent effects on your life. These charges carry severe state and federal penalties. When realizing that you’re under investigation for weapons conspiracy, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced defense attorney. An attorney with knowledge of weapons conspiracy charges can ensure you have a strong defense to pursue a favorable outcome.
What Are the Consequences of a Weapons Conspiracy Charge?
Under federal law, a weapons conspiracy offense could be punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and hefty fines. Prosecutors commonly charge conspirators for both the underlying crime and the conspiracy to commit, which means facing separate punishments for each offense.
In Louisiana, according to the statute pertaining to the illegal carrying and discharge of weapons:
“…whoever commits the crime of illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities by discharging a firearm while committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or soliciting, coercing, or intimidating another person to commit a crime of violence or violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law…”
This individual may face imprisonment for no less than ten years but no more than twenty years. People convicted of weapons conspiracy will not have the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
What Is Considered Weapons Conspiracy?
A conspiracy involves two or more people agreeing to commit a crime. Weapons conspiracy means two or more people agree to commit a crime involving weapons. Proving that an individual is guilty of weapons conspiracy means establishing the following elements:
The alleged offender and at least one co-conspirator must have agreed to commit a crime to be convicted of a criminal conspiracy, including weapons conspiracy. A conspiracy agreement is legally vague and doesn’t mean that a physical contract was created with the crime’s details.
There doesn’t even need to be a conversation in which there’s a statement of agreement. Instead, the agreement simply needs to be implied based on the circumstances. A conversation in which the crime is mentioned could be enough to prove conspiracy. Prosecutors can even use the act of attending a planning meeting or showing up at the location of the intended crime to prove conspiracy.
Conspiracy is a crime that specifically requires intent. There must be an intent to commit the crime beyond the agreement. This usually means that a good defense could be established that even if you were present in the planning or the actual crime, you had no intent to commit the crime. For instance, if you were forced into the crime and would not have otherwise done something illegal, that could serve as a defense.
Overt act refers to the actions of at least one of the co-conspirators to further the plan to commit the crime. For instance, if the crime is to sell weapons illegally and they set up a meeting with a buyer, this shows that they are taking action to commit the illegal act. The overt act itself doesn’t need to be unlawful, but it does need to be concrete steps forward into carrying out the illegal act.
Contact an Experienced Weapons Conspiracy Defense Attorney
Attorney Eric G. Johnson of John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm has successfully tried numerous cases before judges and juries, resulting in acquittals for his clients. He is a seasoned defense attorney committed to his clients and protecting their rights. Facing a weapons conspiracy conviction can be terrifying because it has the potential to derail someone’s life.
When you work with John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, you can feel confident that you have an attorney aggressively fighting to achieve the best possible results for your circumstances. Contact our firm today by completing our contact form or calling (318) 377-1555.