Elements of Conspiracy in Virginia
Conspiracy in Virginia requires that two or more people agree to commit a crime and that a person within that group performs some act in furtherance of that conspiracy. Requirements for proving conspiracy dictate that the prosecution must show that the conspiracy agreement was entered into, and the overt act and the furtherance of the conspiracy support the government’s allegations that the people were serious when they agreed to do whatever act they planned.
If two friends fantasize about committing a crime but nobody does anything about it; the argument can be made that there was no agreement that was intended to be followed through. However, if somebody does something to support the future commission of that crime based on the agreement made by the parties, the government can allege that the overt act demonstrates the intent of the parties to follow through with the crime they agreed to commit. Conspiracy law is concerned with the hypothetical and the actual and as a result is complicated. If you face conspiracy charges, and want someone to help you mount a solid defense, seek the legal advice of a knowledgeable conspiracy attorney in Virginia.
Any evidence that shows the agreement between the parties is introduced at trial. Evidence can take the form of text messages, emails, or other written communications. Sometimes evidence is testimonial in nature where one of the conspirators agreed to testify against the others. The government must always have evidence, whether it is documentary or testimonial in nature, to prove that an agreement took place.
There are many ways a person can be shown to intentionally enter into a conspiracy. The person’s own words can be used to prove intent. A person committing an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy can be used to prove intent. Usually it is by deeds; but sometimes it is by their own words when the government can access emails, text messages, or phone conversations that were recorded or tapped. Unlike other cases, hearsay under certain circumstances can be admissible in a person’s conspiracy case trial. A classic example is the co-conspirator hearsay exception where a co-conspirator says something to another person outside of court and their statement is deemed to by the court to be in furtherance of the conspiracy. It can be used at trial against one of the co-conspirators.
Written Agreements and Written Agreements
When the prosecution becomes aware of a written agreement, they introduce it in court. However, a written agreement is not required to prove a conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. Most conspiracy charges do not have written proof that the conspiracy was taking place. Most conspiracy charges take place with two people discussing what they are going to do. Under those circumstances, the government must prove evidence from one of the co-conspirators or that the overt act was committed with full knowledge of every co-conspirator to prove that everyone was in on the conspiracy.
Wiretaps are rarely used but when they are, it means the government has probable cause that the conspiracy is underway and they get a search warrant to wiretap someone’s phone. They are generally looking for solid evidence to nail down their case, but they probably already have enough to go forward at least with an arrest.
Contact a Lawyer
Requirements for proving conspiracy involve extensive research and evidence gathering, in order to make a convictions stick. As the prosecution probes into your personal life, it is natural to feel upset by the disturbance to your privacy. While the intrusion into your personal life in unavoidable, an adept lawyer can help you protect your rights and will work just as rigorously to provide you with a solid defense.