The Law on Conspiracy and its Punishments
Conspiracy is considered as a criminal offense, wherein a minimum of two persons should be involved. It is a plan or an agreement where the participants conspire for the commission of a crime to facilitate the occurrence of the offense by actually committing the offense, soliciting the commission of the crime, agreeing to assist in planning the act, solicitation, or attempt the crime.
An individual is considered to have conspired with another individual or people for committing a crime when the person did at least one of the following with another co-conspirator for the commission of a crime:
- Agrees to help the other people or co-conspirator to commit or plan the commission of such offense or make a solicitation or an attempt for the commission of such criminal offense; or
- Plans with other persons or an individual, wherein anyone or some of them will get involved in an act that comprises such criminal offense or for solicitation or an attempt to commit such offense.
Conspiracy with more than one criminal objective
When an individual enters into a conspiracy for committing multiple criminal offenses, he/she will be considered to be guilty of just 1 conspiracy when such multiple offenses are the outcomes of any continuous conspiratorial association or single agreement.
Scope of a conspiratorial association
In case an individual is found guilty of conspiracy according to the definition of this section and he/she is aware that an individual with whom they conspire for committing a criminal offense has actually conspired someone else for committing the same crime, they can be held guilty for conspiring with other people or person for committing such a criminal offense irrespective of whether he/she is aware of their identity or not.
An individual might not be convicted of an act of conspiracy for the commission of a criminal offense unless there is an overt act subsequent to such conspiracy has been alleged, as well as, established to have been committed by them or by an individual with whom they had conspired.
Anyone linked to a drug operation in Pennsylvania has a chance of being prosecuted for being a part of a drug conspiracy. A person can be held of conspiracy in the state when they participate in any kind of drug crime, which they plan or commit with their family members and/or friends.
It is a plan or an agreement between at least two persons for the commission of a drug crime. In order to establish a drug conspiracy, it is imperative for the government to establish 2 fundamental elements.
Firstly, the prosecution should establish that an agreement existed between a minimum of 2 persons for violating the federal drug law. Secondly, it has to be established that each accused conspirator was aware of the existence of an illegal agreement and participated in it.
Punishments for conspiracy in Pennsylvania
The punishment for the commission of conspiracy in Pennsylvania is dependent on the underlying criminal offense, which the defendants were trying to commit. Thus, in case the defendants were trying to murder someone, they can be slapped with 1st-degree murder charges. A first-degree murder charge can be penalized by life imprisonment or even a death sentence.
On the other hand, when the conspirators planned a criminal offense such as arson, they can be slapped with a 3rd-degree felony. A 3rd-degree felony charge in Pennsylvania can be punished by a maximum fine amount of 15,000 USD and a maximum jail term of 7 years. Every conspirator may be charged for any single conspiracy only once. Also, the commission of the crime is not mandatory to charge someone with an act of conspiracy.