New Jersey Conspiracy Laws (N.J.S. 2C:5-2)
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The crime of conspiracy is an agreement between two or more individuals
to perform together a wrongful or otherwise illegal act. In criminal law,
when two or more people conspire to commit a crime at some point in the
future, it is considered "conspiracy."
The crime of conspiracy is covered under The New Jersey Code of Criminal
Justice Section 2C:5-2.
- Under Section 2C:5-2, a person is guilty of conspiracy when along with
another person, he or she agrees that one or more of them will engage
in criminal conduct or an attempt, or they will solicit someone to commit
such crime; or
- Such person agrees to aid another person or persons in the planning or
committing of such crime or an attempt or a solicitation to commit such crime.
As far as the scope of the conspiratorial relationship, a person is guilty
of conspiracy as long as they know that a person with whom they are conspiring
to commit a crime has conspired with another person or persons to commit
the same crime. The actor is guilty of committing conspiracy, even if
they don't actually know the other person's or persons' identity
to commit said crime.
When a person conspires with multiple objectives in mind or multiple crimes,
he or she is still only guilty of one conspiracy, as long as such multiple
crimes are the object of the same agreement or the same conspiratorial
relationship between the actors.
Overt Act: Furthering the Crime
In most countries and in the state of New Jersey, conspiracies generally
require that at least one overt act has been taken in order to further
the agreement. In criminal law, the overt act is an act that can be clearly
shown by evidence in which criminal intent can be proved, as opposed to
someone's mere intention in their mind to commit a crime. For example,
catching video footage of someone hiring a hit man to kill their spouse
would show that the person took action to commit the crime of murder.
Under New Jersey's conspiracy statute, no person may be convicted of
conspiracy to commit a crime other than a crime in the first or the second
degree, or distribution or
possession with the intent to distribute a dangerous controlled substance or a controlled
substance analog as defined under Chapter 35 of this title.
New Jersey Penalties for Conspiracy
Under Section 2C:5-4, an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime of the
first degree is a crime in the second degree; except where the attempt
or conspiracy was to commit murder or terrorism, in which case it is a
first degree felony, providing the person attempted or conspired to murder
or commit terrorism of five or more people, the actor shall be sentenced
to a 30 year term of imprisonment, during which time the actor will not
be eligible for parole, or they shall be sentenced to a term between 30
years and life in prison, of which time the person must serve no less
than 30 years before they are eligible for parole.
Other than the above, an attempt is a crime of the same degree as the most
serious crime which is attempted, and the crime of conspiracy is the same
degree that is the object of the conspiracy. Any attempt or conspiracy
to commit a crime defined by law outside of the code shall be graded as
a crime of the same degree as the offense.
Common conspiracy crimes include: conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to commit
murder, conspiracy to commit terrorism, conspiracy to
kidnap someone, conspiracy to trespass and so on. As you can see, a mere attempt
or an overt act to commit conspiracy can land you in prison for years
and incur harsh monetary fines depending on the facts surrounding the
case, even if the crime was never carried out. Just because you are facing
conspiracy charges, it doesn't mean you are actually guilty of conspiracy.
If you are being accused of conspiracy in Morris County or anywhere else
in New Jersey, I urge you to
contact my firm, The Law Offices of Christopher G. Porreca, P.C., at once so I can begin
tailoring a powerful defense strategy on your behalf and doing everything
possible to pursue reduced, if not dropped charges on your behalf.