The Law on Conspiracy and its Punishments in
Conspiracy to commit a crime has serious consequences in the State of New York. When two or more individuals gather with the intent to commit a crime in the State and then make an agreement towards the same, then they can be tried in court for conspiracy. In cases related to conspiracy to commit a crime, all the co-conspirators receive the same penalties irrespective of their actual role in the crime.
Conspiracy charges, therefore, bring all the people who had agreed to commit the crime and brings them under one umbrella to receive one indictment. In the State of New York, the conspirators must engage in at least one action directly related to the crime they intended to commit in order to be held accountable under conspiracy for that crime.
What constitutes a conspiracy in the State of New York?
In order for a case to be considered as conspiracy towards committing a crime in New York, the prosecuting attorney must both establish an intent to commit a crime by the group of conspirators and overt action that indicate that they were going to go through with committing the crime.
Establishing intent is the foundation of all conspiracy related charges. Anyone who participates in a crime with a group of conspirators without knowledge of how their action could assist in the crime, or due to coercion, can or be charged with conspiracy to commit the crime. If a family member, friend or acquaintance were to drive two robbers to the house they intended to rob without knowing that they intended to rob that house, then the driver cannot be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.
Similarly, while buying a gun with the intention of killing someone with it shows overt action towards committing murder, the shopkeeper who sold them the gun cannot be charged with conspiracy to commit the crime unless they both had knowledge of the intended use of the gun and was in cahoots with the conspirators.
What are the punishments for conspiracy in the State of New York?
New York has detailed rules in place for what kind of punishments should be meted out to conspirators intending to commit different kinds of crimes. The penalties they incur are dependent on the crimes they intended to commit. Whether they actually committed the crime can also have an impact on the punishment received, as additional charges can be brought against the conspirators for crimes committed because of the conspiracy.
The following punishments are meted out to people who conspire to commit a crime in the State of New York:
- Conspiracy in the First Degree: Those that conspire to commit murder and commit murder, shall be punished in accordance with the penalties underClass A Felony. This can go up to life in prison.
- Conspiracy in the Second Degree: All other kinds of conspiracies involving Class A Felonies with the exception of those punished under Conspiracy in the First Degree shall receive punishments under Class B Felony. Such punishment could lead up to twenty-five years of jail time.
- Conspiracy in the Third Degree: All conspirators who agree to commit a crime punishable either under Class B or Class C felonies will receive punishments same as for Class D Felonies. This can lead to time served in jail not exceeding seven years.
- Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree: Conspirators who intend to commit crimes punishable under the Class B and Class C categories, but less severe than those penalties incurred by those charged with Conspiracy in the Third Degree, receive Class E Felony punishments. This offer may have to spend up to four years in prison.
- Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree: All other conspiracies to commit felonies are to receive the same punishment as Class A Misdemeanors and the perpetrators may have to spend up to a year in jail.
- Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree: All other conspiracies to commit crimes receive punishments under Class B Misdemeanors and the perpetrators may have to spend up to ninety days in jail.