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Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Conspiracy

‘Conspiracy to Commit’ Charges in Elizabeth NJ Superior Court

The offense of conspiracy arises at the Elizabeth NJ Superior Court if two or more individuals enter into an agreement to commit a crime. An individual charged with conspiracy almost always also faces companion violations, for example, distribution of cds, robbery, theft by deception or an almost endless array of other crimes. If you were arrested for conspiracy in Elizabeth, Berkeley Roselle, Plainfield, Hillside, Linden or another municipality, your case will be heard at the county courthouse in Elizabeth. An attorney at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is equipped to protect you against a conviction for conspiracy. The lawyers on our defense team include several former prosecutors and other highly skilled counsel that have over a century of collective experience.  For a free consultation with a lawyer, contact our Union Office now at 908-272-1700.

Understanding a Conspiracy Offense Under New Jersey Law

The New Jersey law that triggers the offense of conspiracy is N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2. This statute provides that an individual is guilty of conspiracy to commit a criminal offense if he/she:

  1. Enters into an agreement to commit or assist in the commission of a crime;
  2. Possesses an intention to facilitate the crime; and
  3. Engages in some overt act in furtherance of the crime.

In terms of element (1), the agreement does not have to be expressed as long as there is a “meeting of the minds” between the conspirators to assist in the commission of the criminal offense. Except where the object of the conspiracy is the commission of a first or second degree crime, or is to commit possession or distribution of CDS, the state must demonstrate that an overt act was committed by the accused. What this means is that some affirmative conduct must have been undertaken to facilitate the crime or the requirements for proving a conspiracy are lacking.

Duration of a Conspiracy: When Have You Withdrawn?

You may believe that you are not guilty of conspiracy because you have either mentally or physically withdrawn from the commission of a crime, or otherwise renounced your involvement of such an act. Conspiracy is defined as “a continuing course of conduct which terminates when the crime or crimes which are its object are committed or the agreement that they be committed is abandoned by the defendant and by those with whom he conspired.” If the underlying crime is not first or second degree, abandonment is presumed to have occurred when no alleged co-conspirator performs any overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy during the applicable time period of limitation. Conspiracy would thus be terminated at the point in which a person notifies his or her co-conspirators of the abandonment. Certain limitations do apply, and you should speak with an experienced attorney to find out whether an abandonment defense could work for you.

Fines and Penalties for ‘Conspiracy to Commit’ Charges

A conviction for conspiracy under N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 can trigger numerous penalties including fines, restitution, loss of license and jail depending on the grade of offense charged. Conspiracy to commit a first degree crime is a second degree offense (except where the underlying charge is murder or terrorism).  The grade of a conspiracy charge otherwise follows that of the crime which is the subject of the conspiracy. For example, if the agreement was to commit a second degree theft then the conspiracy would be second degree conspiracy. The following is the breakdown of the standard penalties for conspiracy.

Degree of Offense Fine Prison Term
First Degree $250,000 10-20 Years
Second Degree $150,000 5-10 Years
Third Degree $15,000 Up to 5 Years
Fourth Degree $10,000 Up to 18 Months

Union County Superior Court Conspiracy Defense Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been arrested for conspiracy to commit burglary, money laundering or another crime, we can help. Our Union County Conspiracy Defense Lawyers have decades of experience defending those charged with all varieties of 2C:5-2 offense and are ready to put their skills to work for you. Our lawyers include former prosecutors and a defense team with a century of experience defending clients charged in Roselle Park, Clark, Fanwood, Cranford, Westfield and other locations. You can reach a member of our team 24/7 at 908-272-1700 to find out how we can be of assistance in your conspiracy case.