If you are reading this, then you or someone you know has been charged with a Maryland conspiracy. This is a serious charge that should not be taken lightly.
In this blog post, we will discuss what a Maryland conspiracy is, the potential penalties, and how to defend yourself against these charges.
Basics of Maryland Conspiracy
Each criminal charge, in every state in the country, has simple elements that the prosecutor must prove to find you guilty.
Maryland conspiracy charges are no different. The simplest way to understand what a prosecutor has to bring against you is to look at the jury instructions.
The jury instructions are literally what a judge reads to the jury after your trial before they go back to decide your fate. Here is the jury instruction for Maryland conspiracy:
Prosecutors have to prove first, an agreement. That you and at least one other person (can be more than one) agreed to commit a crime.
The second element is the mental state. They have to prove that you intended to enter the agreement with the purpose of the crime being committed.
Prosecutor Doesn’t Need to Prove any Acts
What better way to learn about the history of Maryland conspiracy charges than to review a few cases. Here is how the Maryland Court of Appeals describes Maryland conspiracy:
You should focus on the key language “no overt act” needed. A prosecutor does not even have to prove you did anything. Only that you agreed to do it and it was your intent that the crime is committed.
Many clients get caught up in the fact that, for example, they don’t have video of any drug deal. Prosecutors don’t need that for a conspiracy charge. Only an agreement.
Conspiracy charges require a vigorous defense.
Potential Punishments for Maryland Conspiracy
The potential punishment for conspiracy shocks many clients and potential clients:
The punishment of a person who is convicted of conspiracy may not exceed the maximum punishment for the crime that the person conspired to commit.Md. Code, Crim. Law § 1-202
You read that correctly. You can be punished for a conspiracy the same as the underlying crime.
For murder conspiracy, you can get a life sentence. They don’t even have to prove you did the murder, just an agreement.
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