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Utah Defense Attorney: Criminal Conspiracy

Can I be charged with conspiring to commit a crime?

Conspiring or agreeing with another person to commit a crime can, itself, be punished as a crime under Utah law. Even if the underlying crime itself is never completed, the conspiracy can be independently prosecuted in Utah. While the penalties associated with a conspiracy charge are not as severe as those associated with a fully-committed crime, the consequences of a conspiracy can be substantial. Having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can give you the best chance of successfully defending your case.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

Conspiracy to Commit a Crime: Elements of the Offense

To be charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, Utah Code 76-4-201 does not require proof that the underlying crime was actually committed. Instead, the Utah criminal code provides penalties where a person agrees with at least one other person to engage in or cause the performance of conduct that would constitute a crime. To obtain a conspiracy conviction, a prosecutor must present proof that the defendant intended that the crime be committed. And most conspiracy crimes require proof that at least one member of the conspiracy committed an overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy.

An exception to the "overt act" requirement exists for crimes including a capital felony (e.g. aggravated murder), arson, burglary, robbery, or another felony against the person. For these crimes, a conspiracy conviction does not require proof that any overt act was committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. Instead, for these crimes, the agreement itself can be sufficient to support a conspiracy conviction.

Penalties for Conspiring to Commit a Crime

A conspiracy to commit a capital felony (e.g. aggravated murder) can be punished as a first degree felony. This means that the death penalty is not a possible punishment, but a conspiracy to commit a capital felony may still be punished with life in prison.

For most other first-degree felonies, a conspiracy to commit the offense is punishable as a second degree felony. Exceptions to this general rule are provided under Utah Code 76-4-202, which provides that a conspiracy to commit certain first-degree felonies is still punishable as a first-degree felony, but with a minimum prison term of three years to life as compared with five years to life for a completed first-degree felony crime. These exceptions include conspiracy to commit child kidnapping as well as certain first-degree felony crimes listed as sexual offenses under Title 76, Chapter 5, Part 4 of the Utah criminal code.

Other conspiracy crimes are generally punished at one step lower than the possible penalty for the underlying crime. For example, a conspiracy to commit a crime that would otherwise be punishable as a third-degree felony can instead be punished as a class A misdemeanor. If the underlying offense would be a class C misdemeanor, a conspiracy to commit that crime is still punishable as a class C misdemeanor, but with a penalty one-half that of an ordinary class C misdemeanor.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake Criminal LawyerIf you have been charged with a crime, having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be vital to creating a successful defense strategy. Utah criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully protected his clients' rights in cases including homicide, robbery, burglary, forgery, drug crimes, DUI, theft, and many more. He has an impressive record of achieving real results for his clients.

Based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

RELATED QUESTIONS:
Can I be charged with a crime for something someone else did?
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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