Have you been charged with Conspiracy in Pennsylvania? I am the lawyer who will offer you tactical, dynamic, comprehensive, and compassionate defense. In a nutshell, the government can try hold you liable for the actions of your co-conspirators even though your role in the crime was minimal, or non-existent. They can try all they want, but many defenses are available to you.
Common defenses to conspiracy are mere presence or mere association and withdrawal from the conspiracy. As always, the Commonwealth has the burden of proving that a crime occurred and identify you as an actor.
The PA crimes code defines conspiracy as the following:
PA 18:903 Criminal conspiracy
A. Definition of conspiracy.–A person is guilty of conspiracy with another person or persons to commit a crime if with the intent of promoting or facilitating its commission he:
- agrees with such other person or persons that they or one or more of them will engage in conduct which constitutes such crime or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime; or
- agrees to aid such other person or persons in the planning or commission of such crime or of an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime.
B. Scope of conspiratorial relationship.–If a person guilty of conspiracy, as defined by subsection (a) of this section, knows that a person with whom he conspires to commit a crime has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same crime, he is guilty of conspiring with such other person or persons, to commit such crime whether or not he knows their identity.
C. Conspiracy with multiple criminal objectives.–If a person conspires to commit a number of crimes, he is guilty of only one conspiracy so long as such multiple crimes are the object of the same agreement or continuous conspiratorial relationship.
D. Joinder and venue in conspiracy prosecutions.–
- Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection, two or more persons charged with criminal conspiracy may be prosecuted jointly if:
- they are charged with conspiring with one another; or
- the conspiracies alleged, whether they have the same or different parties, are so related that they constitute different aspects of a scheme of organized criminal conduct.(2) In any joint prosecution under paragraph (1) of this subsection:
- no defendant shall be charged with a conspiracy in any county other than one in which he entered into such conspiracy or in which an overt act pursuant to such conspiracy was done by him or by a person with whom he conspired;
- neither the liability of any defendant nor the admissibility against him of evidence of acts or declarations of another shall be enlarged by such joinder; and
- the court shall order a severance or take a special verdict as to any defendant who so requests, if it deems it necessary or appropriate to promote the fair determination of his guilt or innocence, and shall take any other proper measures to protect the fairness of the trial.
E. Overt act.–No person may be convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime unless an overt act in pursuance of such conspiracy is alleged and proved to have been done by him or by a person with whom he conspired.
F. Renunciation.–It is a defense that the actor, after conspiring to commit a crime, thwarted the success of the conspiracy, under circumstances manifesting a complete and voluntary renunciation of his criminal intent.
G. Duration of conspiracy.–For purposes of 42 Pa.C.S. 5552(d) (relating to commission of offense):
- conspiracy is a continuing course of conduct which terminates when the crime or crimes which are its object are committed or the agreement that they be committed is abandoned by the defendant and by those with whom he conspired;
- such abandonment is presumed if neither the defendant nor anyone with whom he conspired does any overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy during the applicable period of limitation; and
- if an individual abandons the agreement, the conspiracy is terminated as to him only if and when he advises those with whom he conspired of his abandonment or he informs the law enforcement authorities of the existence of the conspiracy and of his participation therein.