Facing a Conspiracy Charge in Florida
It is always challenging to face criminal charges. From the initial arrest, to posting bond and appearing in front of a judge, the criminal court process is can prove long, tedious and stressful. The details of an incident generally dictate which charges are filed. The amount of danger and violence involved can elevate a misdemeanor charge to the felony level. The intention to commit a crime that is not fully carried out can result in an attempt charge, and when two or more people are allegedly involved in planning or carrying out a crime, the state may file charges of conspiracy.
Jacksonville.com is reporting on a case of alleged fraud involving a patrolman from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. The incident reportedly centers around a scam to launder drug money. According to court papers, the accused participants conducted numerous financial undertakings with money gained from the sale and distribution of ecstasy.
The officer’s arrest was for unauthorized use of the National Crime Information Center. He allegedly used the system to investigate an undercover agent who was working on the money laundering case. The remaining defendants face various charges, including fraud, money laundering and distribution of narcotics. Most of them are also charged with conspiracy for allegedly acting together in the commission of these crimes.
Conspiracy Under Florida Law
According to Florida statute 777.04, criminal conspiracy occurs when a person agrees, conspires, combines or confederates with another person to commit any offense. Possible punishments vary, depending on the underlying charges. For example:
- If the underlying offense is a capital felony, the conspiracy is classified as a first degree felony. The maximum possible punishment is 30 years imprisonment.
- If the underlying offense is a felony in the first degree, the conspiracy is classifies as a felony in the second degree. The maximum possible punishment is 15 years imprisonment.
- If the underlying offense is a felony in the third degree, the conspiracy is classified as a misdemeanor in the first degree. The maximum possible punishment is a one-year jail sentence.
- If the underlying offense is a misdemeanor in the first or second degree, the conspiracy is classified as a misdemeanor in the second degree. The maximum possible punishment is a 60-day jail sentence.
Defending a Conspiracy Charge
Conspiracy is a big word that often invokes images of elaborate schemes and violent offenses. But a conspiracy can be as simple as two people making a plan to steal items from a department store. The possibility of additional punishment exemplifies the seriousness of a conspiracy charge and the importance of a capable lawyer. In presenting a defense, your lawyer may argue that you were not involved in the planning or carrying out of the crime. He may also present evidence that you backed out of planning the crime or tried to prevent it from occurring.
If you or a loved one is facing charges of conspiracy, the skilled lawyers at our Miami firm can provide you with an aggressive and effective defense. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today at (305) 330-3905 for a confidential and free consultation.