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How Do Federal Conspiracy Charges Work?

Federal conspiracy charges are probably the most frequently charged federal crime. Prosecutors bring them across many different kinds of cases – from fraud cases to drug dealing, from white collar crimes to violent crimes.

Many people misunderstand what a federal conspiracy is, or what it requires.

Probably the most charged federal crime is conspiracy. Prosecutors love to charge this crime because it lets them sweep in a broader set of evidence to trial than they otherwise would be able to.

So what I want to do is just give you a quick overview of what conspiracy is and how it works.  Basically for most federal crimes a federal conspiracy is an agreement between two and more people to commit a federal crime.  Often it also requires an overt act but not always.

So let's see an example for how this works.

Let's suppose that Larry and Bob decide they are going to counterfeit some money.  As soon as they agree they get together – Larry says hey Bob let's counterfeit some money – and they take some step to counterfeit the money.  They go by a counterfeiting machine, or they start researching counterfeiting on the internet and they buy a bunch of ink.

According to the law of conspiracy even though that's a little crazy and they haven't gone very far that completes the conspiracy and they can be charged.

Prosecutors often wouldn't charge that because it's, they haven't gone far enough to make it sort of real in a way that we come to a prosecutors attention, but as the law works that's enough for conspiracy.

It does not require a big meeting with the formal agenda where all the evil people get in the room and they talk about what they are going to do when they agree, it's enough if two people agree, they agree that they are going to commit some federal crime and they take some step to act out that agreement.

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Lawyer Jose Saldivar | Featured Attorney Criminal Defense

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