Conspiracy is a relatively common crime that can be prosecuted in state or federal court in Texas. Criminal charges for an alleged conspiracy are often used as leverage to try to possibly get alleged offenders to assist in the prosecution of a bigger target.
Many people can be shocked to learn that they were believed to be involved in a conspiracy, and conspiracy charges are especially common in connection to many illegal drugs. Conspiracies involving violations of the federal Controlled Substance Act are prosecuted under a specific section of the United States Code (U.S.C.).
Dallas Drug Conspiracy Lawyer
If you or your loved one were arrested or think you are being investigated for an alleged conspiracy in the greater Dallas area, do not say anything to authorities until you have legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as you possibly can.
Our firm can work tirelessly to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
Drug Conspiracy Charges in Texas
Under Texas Penal Code § 15.02, a person commits the crime of criminal conspiracy when they, with intent that a felony be committed, agree with one or more persons that they or one or more of them engage in conduct that would constitute the offense, and they or one or more of them performs an overt act in pursuance of the agreement.
Criminal conspiracy is graded one category lower than the most serious felony that is the object of the conspiracy. A conspiracy to commit a first-degree felony drug crime would be a second-degree felony, and a conspiracy to commit a state jail felony, drug crime would be a Class A misdemeanor.
Title 21 U.S.C. § 846 makes it a crime to conspire to violate or attempt to violate any substantive offense set forth in 21 U.S.C. §§ 801-904, otherwise known as the Controlled Substances Act. Violations of this statute are punishable by the same penalties possible for the underlying offense.
The general federal conspiracy statute found in 18 U.S.C. § 371 cannot be used to charge a conspiracy involving violations of the Controlled Substances Act. 18 U.S. Code § 371 makes it a crime for two or more persons to conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy.
The factors that demonstrate an alleged offender was part of a conspiracy rather than in a mere buyer/seller relationship with that conspiracy include:
- the length of affiliation between the defendant and the conspiracy
- whether there is an established method of payment
- the extent to which transactions are standardized
- whether there is a demonstrated level of mutual trust
- whether transactions involved large amounts of drugs
- whether the defendant purchased his drugs on credit
Drug Conspiracy Penalties in Dallas
State conspiracy charges are generally punishable as follows:
- Class A Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail
- State jail felony — Fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to two years in county jail
- Third-degree felony — Fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison
- Second-degree felony — Fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 20 years in prison
- First-degree felony — Fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 99 years or life in prison
Federal sentences can vary depending on several factors, including the alleged offender’s criminal history and the types of drugs involved. Some sentences may involve mandatory minimums, and it is possible for certain alleged offenders to receive life sentences in prison.
Drug Conspiracy Defenses in Texas
Texas Penal Code § 15.02(c) establishes that it is not a defense to prosecution for criminal conspiracy that:
- one or more of the coconspirators is not criminally responsible for the object offense;
- one or more of the coconspirators has been acquitted, so long as two or more co-conspirators have not been acquitted;
- one or more of the co-conspirators has not been prosecuted or convicted, has been convicted of a different offense, or is immune from prosecution;
- the alleged offender belongs to a class of persons that by definition of the object offense is legally incapable of committing the object offense in an individual capacity; or
- the object offense was actually committed.
In many conspiracy cases, an alleged offender may be able to use the affirmative defense of withdrawal form the conspiracy. An alleged offender will have to make a substantial showing that they took some affirmative step to terminate or abandon participating in the conspiracy.
Drug Conspiracy Resources in Dallas County
The Controlled Substances Act | Department of Justice — Visit this section of the Department of Justice website to learn more about 21 U.S.C. § 846. The website notes Section 846 of Title 21 prohibits conspiracies and attempts to violate any substantive offense established by Subchapter I of Title 21 (“Control and Enforcement”), or to conspire to violate or attempt to violate any substantive offense set forth in 21 U.S.C. §§ 801-904. Section 963 of Title 21 also prohibits conspiracies and attempts to violate any substantive offense established by Subchapter II of Title 21 (“Import and Export”), or to conspire to violate or attempt to violate any substantive offense set forth in 21 U.S.C. §§ 951-971.
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing of Federal Drug Offenses in Short — View this January 2018 document from the Congressional Research Service, the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. Attempt, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting is discussed at great length. The document states, “To establish that a defendant conspired to distribute drugs under 21 U.S.C. § 846, the government must prove: (1) that there was a conspiracy, i.e., an agreement to distribute the drugs; (2) that the defendant knew of the conspiracy; and (3) that the defendant intentionally joined the conspiracy.”
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Drug Conspiracy Lawyer
Were you or your loved one arrested or do you believe that you might be under investigation for an alleged drug conspiracy in Dallas or a surrounding area of Texas? It will be in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel.
You will want to be sure that you have the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy on your side. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.