Michigan Conspiracy Attorneys
What Is Criminal Conspiracy in Michigan?
Conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit a criminal act. Conspiracy can also be charged where there is an agreement to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, however, this version of conspiracy is rarely charged. It is important to understand the agreement itself is considered a criminal offense separate from the underlying criminal offense.
In order to prove a conspiracy charge, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the following:
First, the defendant and someone else knowingly agreed to commit a specific crime (for this example, we’ll use home invasion).
Second, that the defendant intended to commit home invasion.
Third, that this agreement took place on a particular date or continued during a set period of time.
Defenses to a Conspiracy Charge
There are several ways to defend a conspiracy charge in Michigan. The first is to argue that no overt action was taken in furtherance of the agreement. It is not enough under Michigan conspiracy law to merely agree to commit an illegal act, the alleged conspirators must intend to further promote or cooperate in the unlawful enterprise.
Mere presence is not enough to prove conspiracy - if the evidence only shows that the defendant was present with other members of a conspiracy, that is not enough to prove conspiracy. Just because he was there, doesn’t mean he agreed to it. Moreover, even where a defendant does an act that furthered the purpose of an alleged conspiracy, that doesn’t necessarily prove that he was a member of the conspiracy. There has to be some proof that there was an agreement between the defendant and another person to prove the conspiracy - the defendant may have unwittingly gotten caught up in someone else’s criminal scheme.
Another potential defense is that the criminal acts committed by one of the co-conspirators was outside the scope of the alleged conspiracy. A defendant is not criminally responsible for the acts of his associates unless those acts are within the scope of the unlawful agreement or might fairly have been expected to happen.
What is the Punishment for Conspiracy in Michigan?
The punishment for a conspiracy conviction is dependent upon the underlying crime. Per the Michigan conspiracy statute:
· If commission of the offense prohibited by law is punishable by imprisonment for 1 year or more, the person convicted under this section shall be punished by a penalty equal to that which could be imposed if he had been convicted of committing the crime he conspired to commit and in the discretion of the court an additional penalty of a fine of $10,000.00 may be imposed.
· Any person convicted of conspiring to violate any provision of this act relative to illegal gambling or wagering or any other acts or ordinances relative to illegal gambling or wagering shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both such fine and imprisonment.
· If commission of the offense prohibited by law is punishable by imprisonment for less than 1 year… the person convicted under this section shall be imprisoned for not more than 1 year nor fined more than $1,000.00, or both such fine and imprisonment.
· Any person convicted of conspiring to commit a legal act in an illegal manner shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
Experienced Conspiracy Defense Lawyers
The attorneys at Jeffrey Buehner, PLLC have over two decades of courtroom experience, both as prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys. We know how to aggressively defend against conspiracy charges. Whether you are under investigation or have been charged with conspiracy, we can help protect your rights and your freedom. Call now.
31700 West 13 Mile Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
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