If you find yourself under arrest for conspiring to commit a crime, you might feel a great deal of confusion if you are not even aware of a crime taking place. This raises the question of whether or not you can be guilty of criminal conspiracy without knowing.
Arizona legal statutes define a criminal conspiracy as the act of planning, agreeing or aiding in the commission of a crime that at least one individual in the group carries out. You can protect yourself against a conspiracy charge by knowing which actions an officer might interpret as willing participation in a criminal act.
Can you unknowingly agree to commit a crime?
Even if you would never assist a group in committing a crime, there are situations in which you might unknowingly agree or help in the planning of an illegal act. You might find yourself participating in a discussion about a crime, not realizing that your friends truly intend to carry it out. You might also find yourself under coercion to aid in a criminal act without anyone telling you the implications of your actions.
How can you defend against a conspiracy charge?
Your defense against a conspiracy charge will likely hinge on proving that you have no intent to commit a crime. You might also strive to prove that you are a victim of coercion, duress, or deceit. Working with your legal team to collect evidence for these points and building a strong case is the best way to ensure your freedom.
Unknowing involvement in a criminal conspiracy is an unusual situation, but one that necessitates a strong defense when it does occur.