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In Massachusetts, conspiracy is a combination of two or more individuals by some collaborative action to accomplish a criminal or unlawful goal (or a goal, not in itself criminal or unlawful, by unlawful means). At the heart of conspiracy is the “combination” element. A “combination” is formed when two or more persons join together because of an agreement to accomplish some unlawful end. To convict a defendant of conspiracy, the prosecutor must prove that there was both an intent to combine and that the defendant intended to do something that he knew was unlawful. If the conspiracy’s purpose is something that is wrong only because there is a statute prohibiting it, then the prosecutor will have to prove that the defendant knew that the particular act was against the law. If, on the other hand, the purpose of the conspiracy is something that is wrong in and of itself, then to satisfy then intent element, the prosecutor only has to prove that the defendant knew what he was doing.Conspiracy is Not Often Charged in Massachusetts Other Than in Drug Cases
The crime of conspiracy in Massachusetts is rarely charged unless it is in connection with a drug crime. This is because proving someone’s intent and the agreement is usually impossible. Moreover, whenever the district attorney believes that two or more people are acting in concert they charge all of them with the crime and proceed on a joint venture theory. Proving joint venture is an easier task and the apparent preference of prosecutors in Massachusetts.
As to drug crimes however the motivations are somewhat different. Almost all drug cases involving one or more persons results in a conspiracy charge. This is basically a fall back position for the prosecutor. The conspiracy charge can be severed from the other charges at the request of the defendant. The prosecutor will proceed with the underlying drug case. If you lose there will be no action taken on the conspiracy case. It will likely be dismissed. On the other hand, if you win, the prosecutor will then go forward on the conspiracy case.Punishment
If the goal of the conspiracy (or the means for achieving that goal) amounts to a felony punishable by death or life imprisonment, the conspiracy is punishable by up to 20 years in state prison. If the goal was a felony punishable by imprisonment for more than 10 years, then the maximum prison sentence for the conspiracy is 10 years. If the purpose of the conspiracy was a felony punishable by less than 10 years of imprisonment, then the conspiracy is punishable by up to 5 years. If the conspiracy’s goal was any other crime, then the maximum sentence for the conspiracy is up to 2 ½ years in jail. A conspiracy is separate and distinct from the substantive crime, and it is not merged into the substantive crime. For example, if two persons agree to commit murder and do commit murder, they may be punished for the conspiracy and the murder separately.Massachusetts Conspiracy Defense Attorney: (617) 263-6800
If you’ve been charged with a crime in the Boston area or anywhere in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. Attorney Stephen Neyman is one of the foremost criminal defense lawyers in the state. With more than 20 years of experience, he provides his clients with the best defense possible. You can reach him at any time by calling (617) 263 6800 or by contacting him online.