New Jersey Criminal Conspiracy Law
We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2; New Jersey criminal conspiracy complaints and indictments filed in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Union County, and Hudson County.
In order for a person to be guilty of a conspiracy, the object of the conspiracy must be the "commission of a crime."
In addition, an "agreement" to commit a crime must be proved on the part of the defendant with another person.
Plus, for a defendant to be convicted of a conspiracy it must be proved that defendant acted with the "purpose" of promoting or facilitating a crime.
Finally, to obtain a conviction for a New Jersey Criminal conspiracy the state must further prove an "overt act" in pursuance of the conspiracy to have been done by a party to the conspiracy .
However, this final "overt act" requirement does not apply to conspiracies to commit a crime of the first or second degree or a crime of either distribution or possession of a controlled dangerous substance or its analog with intent to distribute.
Generally, a conspiracy is a crime of the same grade and degree as the crime which is the object of the conspiracy, except a conspiracy to commit a crime of the first degree is a crime of the second degree.
However, a conspiracy to commit either aggravated arson, arson or arson for hire is a crime of the first degree if the structure which was the target of the crime was a church, synagogue, temple or other place of public worship.
Also leaders of organized crime convicted of conspiracy are guilty of a crime of the second degree.
A co-conspirator may be liable for the commission of a substantive criminal acts that are not within the scope of the conspiracy if they are "reasonably foreseeable" as the necessary or natural consequences of the conspiracy.
Renunciation of purpose of a New Jersey criminal conspiracy is an affirmative defense - the defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence - to a charge of conspiracy.
The renunciation must consist of informing the authorities of the existence of the conspiracy and his participation therein and of thwarting the commission of any offense in furtherance of the conspiracy.
This renunciation must have occurred voluntarily and completely.
It is also a defense to a charge of a New Jersey criminal conspiracy that if the object of the conspiracy were achieved the person who is charged with being a conspirator could not be guilty of the crime under the law defining the crime nor could he be guilty as an accomplice.
If a defendant is convicted of any substantive offense which is within the scope of the conspiracy, the conspiracy conviction must merge with the substantive offense.
However, there is an exception to the general rule of merger: a person who is a leader of organized crime will not have the offenses merge if he was convicted of a conspiracy and any other crime which constitutes racketeering activity.
Finally, for purposes of mitigation at sentencing defendant may submit to the Judge the fact that he or she played a very minor role in the main unlawful enterprise.
Did You Know
The fact that the object of the agreement is the commission of a disorderly persons offense or a civil wrong will not suffice to support a conviction.
A defendant can be convicted as an accomplice even if acquitted on a conspiracy charge because an illicit agreement is not required to be proved for accomplice liability.
In a conspiracy prosecution a statement by a co-conspirator may be admitted against the defendant but Judge must first determine that there is sufficient evidence in the record to establish the existence of a conspiracy and that the defendant was a member of the conspiracy.
A husband and wife may be convicted of conspiring with each other to commit a crime.
If you have any questions for a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer on a New Jersey Criminal Conspiracy charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.