Conspiracy Charges Sentences

Updated May 3, 2024
6 min read
Title "Conspiracy Charges Sentences"; police case, envelope, Themis, papers

In criminal law, criminal conspiracy occurs when two or more people come together and create a plan to carry out a criminal offense. To commit a conspiracy charge in Texas, the crime itself does not necessarily need to have taken place, rather there needs to be an intention for it to happen, and at least one party must commit an overt act in furtherance of the crime. For example, purchasing a gun may not be considered a criminal conspiracy Texas, but if the gun was purchased for use in a planned robbery, this could give rise to a conspiracy charge.

The sentences for conspiracy charges in Texas are diverse and can be severe. Although the crime need not have occurred, it is considered a serious offense in the court of law. As such, harsh penalties are usually handed out. In this guide, we look at the sentences for a conspiracy charge in Texas in more detail and other factors that may affect the criminal penalties.

Understanding the Conspiracy Charge Meaning

In order to understand the different conspiracy charge sentences, it is crucial to dive into the meaning of conspiracy and conspiracy elements. As mentioned, criminal conspiracy occurs when two or more individuals plan to commit an offense. In most US states, for an individual to be convicted of criminal conspiracy Texas, two requirements must be met: 

  1. Both parties must have agreed to commit the crime; and

  2. At least one member of the group must take an overt act in furtherance of the crime.

These are clearly stated in the Texas Penal Code conspiracy, Chapter 15 named “Preparatory Offenses.”

Many illegal activities can give rise to conspiracy charges, including the conspiracy to commit a crime examples:

  • Import drugs into the country from abroad;
  • Supply drugs to other people;
  • Commit fraud;
  • Commit theft of a property or vehicle;
  • Launder money;
  • Commit violent crimes;
  • Engage in human trafficking;
  • Engage in sexual exploitation;
  • Commit a murder.

According to the Texas Penal Code conspiracy, there is no need for a written agreement or an in-depth plan to prove that both parties have agreed to commit the offense. The crime does not have to be carried through to completion. However, if the crime has not been completed, then an overt act is required for conviction in most jurisdictions. This action isn’t necessarily a crime in and of itself, but it shows preparation for the offense. 

Examples include purchasing or renting the equipment needed for the crime such as weapons, masks, or a vehicle, gaining overly detailed information on a particular area or building, or frequently driving on a route that passes the scene where the offense will occur. These actions indicate that the crime would have occurred if law enforcement had not intervened when they did.

What Is Conspiracy Charge Sentencing?

Depending on the nature of the crime, conspiracy can be charged at the federal and state levels. Sentences and penalties vary accordingly. But can you get probation for conspiracy? 

Not exactly. In federal court, the judge will generally award a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment in federal prison plus monetary fines. What is conspiracy charge then? If the charge is only for a misdemeanor, such as conspiring to vandalize a building, the penalties will be much less severe. On the other hand, harsher crimes involving murder or drug trafficking can lead to 40 years in prison or even a life sentence. In terms of state penalties, these will vary depending on the specific conspiracy laws for each state. With that being said, the maximum sentence for conspiracy charges is usually the same as the maximum sentence for the underlying crime.

What are conspiracy charges for several partners in crime? All parties will be charged with the same crimes and sentenced accordingly – the law does not require proof of which group member committed the crime, so long as there is evidence that someone in the group is responsible. However, it is also possible to receive separate penalties both for conspiracy and for committing the underlying crime. Therefore, if both parties were involved in the conspiracy but only one party was involved in the crime, the latter would typically receive two penalties and, thus, a harsher punishment. When state and federal laws are both broken, this, too, can result in more severe sentencing.

What Other Factors Affect the Sentencing for Conspiracy?

As with most crimes, the sentence handed out to the convicted individual varies depending on several factors that are considered by the judge. These can be mitigating factors that will lower the sentence or aggravating factors that could result in more severe punishment. For example, the prosecutor and judge will look at all of the following:

  • Previous number of criminal convictions

  • Level of remorse and guilt for the conspiracy

  • How well the defendant cooperates with authorities

  • Amount of harm done to the victims

  • Whether the planned crime was completed or not

  • Whether the accused has any mental illnesses or disabilities

  • The reputation and character of the defendant

  • How aware the defendant was of their involvement

  • The scale and severity of the offense

If the defendant has several mitigating factors, such as no previous criminal convictions, never following the crime through to completion, and showing remorse for conspiracy, his or her sentence will be reduced. The judge can order the defendant to go through a probationary period which reassures those wondering, “can you get probation for conspiracy.” 

On the other hand, if a serious crime is committed and harm is caused to the victim, the penalties will be much more severe as several aggravating factors apply.

What Are the Sentencing Charges for Drug Conspiracy?

Drug conspiracy charges are among the most frequently encountered federal offenses, particularly in relation to narcotics. This category is ideal for examining the potential punishment outcomes. The federal statutes — 21 U.S.C. § 841 and 21 U.S.C. § 952 — outline four core drug-related offenses: production, possession, distribution, and smuggling. The penalties for conspiring to commit federal drug violations typically hinge on the nature and amount of controlled substances concerned, rather than just the planned illicit activity.

Take cannabis-related offenses: these carry no compulsory minimum penalization, with incarceration caps at 20 years. However, should the activities involve in excess of 100 kilograms of cannabis, the punishment threshold rises to a 5-year minimum, scaling up to a potential of 40 years behind bars. Conversely, when the drug in question is methamphetamine, and the amount is indeterminate, there’s no mandated minimum penalty. Yet, the involvement of as little as 5 grams of methamphetamine triggers a minimum 5-year sentence, which leaps to 10 years for conspiracies encompassing 50 grams or more.

How to Beat a Conspiracy Charge Case

Effective representation by a skilled conspiracy defense lawyer is critical when attempting to beat a conspiracy charge. The right legal counsel can potentially lead to a greatly reduced sentence or complete dismissal of charges. Conviction for a conspiracy charge requires incontrovertible evidence that two or more parties conspired to commit a crime, along with an overt act towards executing the planned offense. An adept defense attorney will craft a strategy to refute these points. Here are several ways a criminal attorney may tackle a conspiracy charge:

  1. Challenging the existence of an agreement to commit the purported crime

  2. Questioning the genuine intent to engage in the criminal act

  3. Disputing whether any overt act in furtherance of the crime was performed or even attempted

Defending against conspiracy charges can be successful if it is shown that the defendant, once part of the initial planning, later disengaged from the scheme. It’s crucial to remember that it’s up to the prosecutor to prove the guilt of the defendant, not for the defense to refute the charges. Nonetheless, offering compelling evidence, such as a character reference letter for court, that opposes the accusations can strengthen the defense's position. When a not-guilty verdict appears out of reach, the defense lawyer’s alternative strategy should focus on pursuing a lesser sentence by highlighting mitigating circumstances at the sentencing phase.

Sentence reductions for a conspiracy charge may be further influenced if the defendant enters an early guilty plea, an option that should be thoroughly discussed with the client. Typically, an earlier admission of guilt can lead to more lenient penalties.

Final Thoughts

The intricacies of conspiracy charges within the legal landscape should not be underestimated. Without the commission of a tangible offense, individuals can face serious legal consequences if evidence suggests an intention to commit a crime. 

Legal representation is paramount; a skilled criminal attorney is able to navigate through the murky waters of conspiracy allegations and surface with a favorable outcome for their clients. It's a legal battleground with much on the line, and each case demands an individual approach to tip the scales of justice.

Legal Disclaimer

Please note that Lawrina does not provide any legal services. The information on Lawrina’s Site and its downloadable content, including legal articles and templates, shall not be considered legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, and up-to-date. If you require legal advice on your issue, we recommend you contact a qualified attorney licensed in your state. You personally assume full responsibility for any consequences, damages, and costs associated with your use of any content of Lawrina Services available on Lawrina’s Site. 

By using Lawrina’s Site you agree with mentioned above and give your irrevocable consent to comply with and to be bound by the provisions of Lawrina Service terms. 

Also Read

Accessory to Murder: What Does It Mean?
Murder charges are very serious. Equally serious are accessory to murder charges. An accessory to murder is anyone who helps someone commit murder or helps that person after the party commits a murder. This can include giving someone a boat or vehicle in which to escape, giving them money to help them get away, hiding the murder weapon, and much more. What Is Accessory to Murder? Accessory to murder is a criminal act that has to do with murder charges. The accessory to murder definition concerns
Bench Warrant in Florida: Understanding How It Works
What is a bench warrant in Florida? How do you find out if you have a bench warrant? And what can you do about it? We answer all your questions about Florida bench warrants here, from different types of warrants to how to find out if one has been made in your name, as well as what to do (and not do) when a bench warrant has been issued for you. Bench Warrants vs Arrest Warrants What is a bench warrant meaning in Florida? And are all warrants the same? No, there are actually two different kinds o
Civil Case vs. Criminal Case: What’s the Difference?
According to U.S. law, there are two different types of legal cases: civil cases and criminal cases. But how is a civil case different from a criminal case? Broadly speaking, the state initiates a criminal case, which deals with issues that affect society. A business or individual seeking financial compensation initiates a civil case. However, there are many more differences between civil vs criminal cases that are important to understand. This guide will explain the difference between a civil a
Civil Contempt vs. Criminal Contempt: What Is the Difference?
Understanding the law often requires distinguishing between similar legal terms with different meanings. Contempt of court meaning is a prime example. The concept may seem straightforward, but it significantly differs when it is divided into a civil and criminal contempt. Both are tools in the judiciary's arsenal to enforce orders and maintain respect for the legal process, yet they serve different purposes, have distinctive procedures, and lead to separate outcomes. This guide will set things c
Complete Guide on How to Start a Class Action Lawsuit
Introduction When a group of people has the same issues against the same defendant, usually a company that operates on a massive scale, they can come together and file one lawsuit. Whether you've suffered a breach of contract, fallen victim to discriminatory employment practices, or endured the consequences of a falsely advertised product, understanding class action lawsuits could be the first step toward your rightful compensation. If you wonder, "How do I file a class action lawsuit?" this gui
Class X Felony: Ultimate Legal Guide
Crimes that carry severe consequences are typically designated into one of two categories: misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are less severe crimes, while felonies are significantly more serious. Within the category of felony charges, there are various criminal charges an individual might face based on the severity of the felony. The most severe are class X felonies. But what is a class X felony in detail? In most states, a crime becomes much more severe if there is a weapon involved. When
Detained vs. Arrested: What’s the Difference?
In legal terms, there are significant differences between being convicted vs detained. Common law dictates that investigatory detention refers to holding someone while a suspicious situation is being checked out. When the detention continues beyond a specific time limit, it can be considered an arrest. Whereas, in comparison, an arrest is usually made under the statutory authority found in Title 18 of the United States Code and its supplemental terms, in which an individual may be held for a pro
What Is the Difference Between Burglary and Larceny?
Millions of larceny thefts occur yearly in the United States, including pick-pocketing, shoplifting, car snatching, and bag snatching. Similarly, over a million cases of burglary have been reported the previous 2023 in the United States. Even as state agencies and law enforcement work tirelessly to manage and control crimes, a clear understanding of the specific crimes they are addressing is vital. This clarity extends to the relationship between clients and their attorneys. A well-informed clie
All Guides
      Consumer Protection Law
      Criminal Law
        Accessory to Murder: What Does It Mean?
        Bench Warrant in Florida: Understanding How It Works
        Civil Case vs. Criminal Case: What’s the Difference?
        Civil Contempt vs. Criminal Contempt: What Is the Difference?
        Class X Felony: Ultimate Legal Guide
        Complete Guide on How to Start a Class Action Lawsuit
        Conspiracy Charges Sentences
        Detained vs. Arrested: What’s the Difference?
        Dismissal vs. Expungement: What Is the Difference?
        Extortion vs. Coercion: What's the Difference?
        Florida Withhold of Adjudication
        How Long Does a Felony Stay on Record?
        How to Charge Someone With Trespassing
        How to Sue Someone: Step-by-Step Guide
        Indiana Self-Defense Laws
        Infraction vs. Misdemeanor: What’s the Difference?
        Intro to Second Degree Assault
        Probation Violation in Virginia
        Probation vs Parole: What Is the Difference?
        Public Intoxication in Texas
        Stand Your Ground Law in Georgia
        Stun Gun Laws by State: The Legal Guide
        The Difference Between Direct Examination and Cross-Examination
        The Difference Between First, Second, and Third-Degree Murders
        The Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter
        Theft by Deception: Laws & Legal Definition
        What Happens at a Plea Hearing: All You Need to Know
        What Happens at an Arraignment?
        What Is a Bail Bond and How Does It Work?
        What Is a Motion to Dismiss? Understanding Legal Terms
        What Is Deferred Adjudication?
        What Is Guilty By Association in Law?
        What Is House Arrest & How Does It Work?
        What Is Simple Assault?
        What Is the Difference Between Burglary and Larceny?
      Estate Planning Law
      Family Law
      Immigration Law
    Real Estate