When you hear that you or someone you know is charged with the Connecticut crime of “Conspiracy” under C.G.S. § 53a-48, you may immediately think that law enforcement is accusing you of being deeply involved in some grand plan or scheme to commit a crime. Yet as many top Stamford criminal lawyers will likely tell you, a closer look at Connecticut conspiracy law reveals that the crime of conspiracy is not what you see in the movies. It does not require an intricate set of plans that people craft over months and years. It is simpler than that. And it’s a serious crime, which can result in felony charges and years of jail and probation if your conspiracy charge is not handled properly by a top Connecticut criminal lawyer. Therefore if you are charged with C.G.S. § 53a-48 Conspiracy in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Fairfield, Norwalk or anywhere else in Connecticut, you should contact a top Stamford Connecticut conspiracy criminal lawyer to defend you against your Connecticut conspiracy charges.What is Criminal Conspiracy?
Connecticut criminal Conspiracy law is spelled out in Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-48 (click here to read the full statute). To be found guilty of a Conspiracy charge, three elements must be satisfied: (1) you must agree with one or more persons to commit in a crime, (2) you must act with the intent to commit that specific crime (in other words, it cannot be a joke or hypothetical conversation), and (3) you or at least one of these persons must commit an “overt act” in furtherance of this criminal conspiracy. The underlying crime can be anything—larceny, assault, murder, identity theft, burglary, robbery, rape, embezzlement, or any other intentional crime in the books. Conspiracy charges can be applied to almost any intentional crime if police believe one or more people are involved. Each of the above three elements of the Connecticut conspiracy crime is critical and necessary to a Conspiracy charge.
What’s even more concerning to top Stamford criminal attorneys is the ease with which police and prosecutors can charge you with conspiracy. And with the surge and popularity of social media and technology like Facebook, iPhones and text messaging, even a single text message can rope you into a conspiracy. And believe us when we tell you that Connecticut law enforcement has access to this social media and smartphone technology through their advanced electronic surveillance resources. We have seen scores of conspiracy cases based on emails, text messages, and phone calls.What Constitutes An “Overt Act” In A Conspiracy Charge?
One of the requirements of any Connecticut Conspiracy charge is that at least one of the accused coconspirators committed an “overt act” in furtherance of the criminal conspiracy. Connecticut law defines an overt act as any action, conduct or step taken to obtain the goal of the conspiracy—that is, the underlying crime. And even worse, the law is clear that a single overt act is enough to prove the existence of a conspiracy.
Most of the top Stamford criminal attorneys who defend conspiracy charges will concede that the law is particularly tough on this point. Only one conspirator has to commit the overt act (such as renting the getaway car from the car rental agency, buying the backpack or tools for a burglary, delivering cash in a gambling enterprise, or purchasing the gasoline for an arson). It does not matter if you weren’t the one who committed the overt act—all it takes for everyone to be arrested or found guilty of conspiracy is for one person in the group to commit the overt act.Getting Arrested For Conspiracy Charges – The Prisoner’s Dilemma
Top Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers often see what has been called the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” in conspiracy arrests. Here’s how it works: when one or more people are arrested for Criminal Conspiracy charges, the police immediately try to persuade each prisoner or suspect to betray or “rat out” each other. If everyone cooperates and confesses, then they get less jail time. If only one suspect cooperates, then the cooperator gets leniency and the non-cooperators get the stiffest jail sentences. If no one cooperates, then each accused conspirator gets the same punishment which is usually somewhere in between the two punishments described directly above.
This dilemma usually begins immediately after a conspiracy arrest. The police put each suspect in a private interrogation room and will try to convince each suspect to confess to the other alleged co-conspirators’ involvement in the crime. Under certain circumstances, police are even allowed to lie to you and tell you that the other conspirators already confessed that you were involved, even if they really didn’t.
If they haven’t already, it is at this point in time that a conspiracy suspect must clearly and firmly demand to speak to a top Connecticut criminal lawyer. When a person charged with conspiracy in Connecticut invokes his or her right to an attorney, the police are obligated by law to immediately stop their interrogation. Interestingly, if the Prisoners’ dilemma does not work at the police station, sometimes the prosecutors will apply the same strategy to each defendant in offering favorable plea bargains to those who cooperate.
The Connecticut conspiracy lawyers at Mark Sherman Law have often faced this dilemma with their clients, and in almost every case, the fact that law enforcement is offering deals like this almost always signals to us that the government is nervous about having a weak case. Despite what Stamford police, Greenwich police or law enforcement in general may tell you, cooperating is not always the best way out of a case. As the best Stamford criminal lawyers will concede, there are often viable and aggressive alternatives to cooperating that can help you beat a Conspiracy case. To learn more about your options for defending against a Connecticut conspiracy charge, contact an experienced Stamford criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today.Fighting Connecticut Conspiracy Charges
The criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are well-versed in Connecticut Conspiracy Law. We have successfully handled Conspiracy allegations in cases dealing with murder, rape, larceny, burglary, drug sale, prostitution, gambling, identity theft, mortgage fraud, organized crime and a full gamut of other misdemeanor and felony crimes. We fully understand the Prisoner’s Dilemma pressure tactics that police and prosecution will apply. It is often a chess game, and the Mark Sherman Law team’s experience in handling these conspiracy cases for years allow us to push back appropriately. We will aggressively challenge the prosecution to get you the best result we can under the circumstances. Our “two-attorney” team approach ensures that at least two of our criminal attorneys will be working on your case, examining your police reports, and when appropriate, filing the appropriate motions and pleadings that preserve your constitutional rights. In the past, we have moved to suppress statements of co-conspirators who were improperly pressured and interrogated by Connecticut police. Additionally, when needed, we call on our private investigators to dig into the personal and criminal histories of cooperating co-conspirators to challenge their credibility and expose any improper motives they may have in trying to improperly shift the blame to our clients.The Renunciation Defense
The Conspiracy statute of C.G.S. § 53a-48(b) provides for the specific defense of “renunciation.” Connecticut law provides a defense like this to trigger after a conspiracy has been established and is in motion. Renunciation of a Connecticut Conspiracy occurs when a co-conspirator pro-actively thwarts the success of a conspiracy by exhibiting a complete and voluntary renunciation of the conspiracy’s criminal purpose (such as calling the police on the conspiracy, talking your co-conspirator’s out of committing the crime, or not providing the getaway car in a bank robbery and as a result, the robbery does not occur). Just removing yourself from the conspiracy is not enough unfortunately. You actually have to stop the crime from happening or you’re still on the hook for your involvement.Whatever You Do, Don’t Try To Cover Up the Conspiracy
One problem the Greenwich and Stamford Conspiracy Lawyers at Mark Sherman Law routinely encounter in a Conspiracy case is when the accused co-conspirators attempt to “cover up” evidence of the conspiracy. Remember, it is against the law in Connecticut to destroy evidence or tamper with evidence. Too often in an alleged conspiracy have we seen accused conspirators text and email each other to “keep quiet” or “go with the story that…”. Trust us--most of the time, this electronic trail comes back to haunt you. That’s why top Conspiracy lawyers in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and other Fairfield County towns will strongly advise their clients not to try and cover up a conspiracy after a crime is committed. If caught, it will only result in additional felony charges, and the paper or electronic trial of cover-up evidence can usually get introduced into the conspirators’ criminal trials as evidence of consciousness of guilt, often leading to convictions.Contact a Stamford Criminal Conspiracy Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law
As you can see, it does not take much to get pulled into a conspiracy ring and arrested for Criminal Conspiracy under C.G.S. § 53a-48. Even giving someone a ride to a crime scene and not knowing what was going to happen can still get you arrested for a conspiracy charge. And while you may not have had the requisite intent to commit the crime, Connecticut police will often arrest you anyway and let you meet your burden of proof at the courthouse.
Therefore if you are facing 53a-48 criminal Conspiracy charges in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Greenwich, Fairfield, Westport or any other Connecticut jurisdiction, pick up the phone and contact one of the experienced criminal attorneys at Mark Sherman Law today. Our rates are reasonable, and our “two-attorney” approach of defending your case ensures that you will have more than one set of eyes scrutinizing your police reports on your behalf. We will aggressively fight your conspiracy charges and are not afraid to push back against the prosecutors and the attorneys of any other co-conspirators who may be trying to unfairly have you take the fall for these crimes. Don’t wait any longer. Call us today at (203) 358-4700.Related Links: