In recent years, criminal conspiracy has been referenced throughout the news and on various social media platforms. The current spotlight on this crime has led many to wonder, what is criminal conspiracy? What can I be charged with? This blog post will explain how Indiana defines criminal conspiracy, the elements of the offense, and the potential penalties for committing the offense.
Indiana Code § 35-41-5-2 defines criminal conspiracy and the penalties one faces for committing criminal conspiracy. This code section explains that “a person conspires to commit a felony when, with intent to commit the felony, the person agrees with another person to commit the felony.” Therefore, for a criminal conspiracy to exist, three elements must exist. First, that an individual must conspire or plot to commit a felony. Second, the individual must actually intend to carry out this felony. Lastly, the individual must agree with at least one other person to act out this felony.
However, to be charged with and convicted of criminal conspiracy, there must be more than just an agreement with another and intent to commit the felony. Rather, the State “must allege and prove that either the person or the person with whom he or she agreed performed an overt act in furtherance of the agreement.” I.C. 35-41-5-2(b). This means that one of the conspirators must have done something to further the conspiracy. The overt act could be something as small as buying masks to help hide the identity of the conspirators to something as big as buying a gun to help facilitate the crime. The State does not have to prove a significant overt act. Rather, it must prove that some overt act occurred.
Felony Levels and Penalties for Criminal Conspiracy
The felony level for a person charged with criminal conspiracy will vary depending on the felony level for the crime upon which the person conspired to commit. More specifically, “a conspiracy to commit a felony is a felony of the same level as the underlying felony.” I.C. § 35-41-5-2. For example, suppose a person conspires with another to burglarize a dwelling, a level 4 felony. In that case, the person charged with criminal conspiracy will be charged with a level 4 felony. On the other hand, if a person conspires to commit auto theft, which is a level 6 felony, then they will only be charged with a level 6 felony. Therefore, the penalties for a criminal conspiracy conviction vary and depend on the underlying crime or crimes upon which the person conspired to commit.
A conspiracy to commit murder is treated differently than other conspiracy offenses. A conspiracy to commit murder is “a Level 2 felony if the conspiracy does not result in the death of a person.” I.C. 35-41-5-2(a)(1). A conspiracy to commit murder is “a Level 1 felony if the conspiracy results in the death of another person.” I.C. 35-41-5-2(a)(2). Regardless of the felony that has been conspired, an individual may be subject to more than just a criminal conspiracy charge. If a person who conspires to commit a felony then successfully commits the felony, they may also face criminal charges for the completed offense. Therefore, if a person conspires to burglarize a dwelling and then successfully burglarizes it, they may be subject to two felony charges. However, a conspirator may not be charged with conspiracy and an attempt to commit a crime. I.C. § 35-41-5-3(a).
If you have been arrested or need to discuss a pending criminal case, call McNeelyLaw LLP today at 317-825-5110 to talk to an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney who can help navigate your case.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.