In a drug crimes conspiracy case, the prosecutor will try to prove that there was an agreement between two persons to commit the crime. An unlawful agreement or combination is the heart of a conspiracy, and a defendant cannot be convicted unless it is established that he was aware of the goal of the conspiracy and intended to help with its execution. The district attorney will have to prove that the defendants somehow combined with the intent to commit the unlawful act or with the intent to do something that was not criminal or unlawful by unlawful means. The prosecutor is not required to prove that the parties even met each other. She will not have to prove an overt act, and she will not have to prove that the defendant actually possessed any drugs. A conspiracy case is not about a series of separate incidents, but rather, a conspiracy is a continuing flow of conduct.
The criminal charge of “conspiracy” is often tagged on to cases in which the Commonwealth likely has a weak case. For example, in situations in which a search warrant is executed in a home and there is minimal evidence that a person living in a multi-unit or apartment type building was actually in “possession” of a controlled substance, the authorities often charge this person with “conspiracy to violate to controlled substance laws.” Obviously, it takes two to conspire, so the main “target” is also charged with conspiracy.
Even though being in the presence of a person known to possess a controlled substance is not a crime (except when the drug is heroin), there is often a lot of disorder surrounding drug crimes arrests. When law enforcement officials are confused as to who actually controlled the drugs, a charge of conspiracy often results. It is unfortunate but true that conspiracy charges tend to be the product of incomplete investigations into who possessed the drugs when the arrest was made.
During the trial, the Commonwealth will try to use co-conspirators' statements against the defendant. Often times, hearsay rules designed to protect the defendant's rights will not apply in these cases. A conspirator is viewed to have adopted his co-conspirators' acts, even those occurring even before he entered the conspiracy. The jury and the court can look to the facts leading up to a conspiracy when those facts have some bearing upon the conspiracy. Thus, the date when the alleged conspiracy began is not a wall.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, filing a motion to dismiss in these types of cases is often appropriate. In order to charge a citizen with a crime, the government must establish probable cause that the defendant committed, is committing or about to commit a crime. In the case of conspiracy cases, the facts often lend themselves to an argument that one “conspirator” was not in agreement with the other; simply that the “conspirator” did not know what the other person was up to. These types of motions to dismiss are referred as “McCarthy” or “DiBenedetto” motions.
If you or a person you know has been arrested for conspiracy, you should contact an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney right away. Kathleen M. McCarthy has the talent and expertise that you will need to win your case. She has more than 20 years of experience in criminal law. She is a leading defense attorney in Massachusetts. Her track record of success speaks for itself. Call the Law Offices of Kathleen M. McCarthy at (978)-975-8060 or send her an e-mail today.