Conspiracy to Commit Murder
A lot of people don’t realize that agreeing with another person to commit a crime such as murder is also a crime.
For example, a husband and his girlfriend conspire to murder the husband’s wife so the girlfriend can be with the husband. Let’s say they succeed and actually end up murdering the wife, they are not only guilty of murder but also of conspiracy to commit murder which is considered a separate crime.
Conspiracy can be charged to commit a number of crimes including kidnapping, robbery, and specifically murder.
Conspiring to commit a crime is an illegal act even if you never commit the actual crime.
So when the husband and girlfriend agreed to get rid of his wife they committed the crime of conspiracy even if the girlfriend got cold feet and never acted on the agreement. Just agreeing to commit the crime is sufficient to be charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Conspiracy charges are charged separately from murder or other charges.
What Is the Legal Definition of Conspiracy in Nevada
A conspiracy consists of two or more people who agree to participate in something that violates the law.
Conspiracy is illegal regardless of whether or not the agreed-upon crime was carried out.
Conspiracies usually involve plans to commit more than one crime. However, the co-conspirators can be charged with only one count of conspiracy since the agreement was one. If there were separate conspiracies then they can be charged with multiple felonies.
If the crime is actually committed, all the conspirators are still liable even if they play a minor role in the crime. So if you were the getaway driver in an armed bank robbery but never went in the bank or held a gun, you are still responsible for the crime. The only thing that matters is what your role was in the conspiracy.
The Difference Between Federal Law and Nevada Law
As previously discussed, Nevada state law only requires that you conspire to commit the crime with another. The act does not have to be carried out in any way.
Federal law requires another element to be convicted of conspiracy to commit murder
- The defendant agreed to commit the crime with at least one other person.
- The defendant acted on the agreement or committed an overt act in the crime even if it didn’t succeed.
The state of Nevada will have an easier time proving a conspiracy charge than the federal government.
Murder Laws in Nevada
Nevada defines murder as an unlawful killing of a human done with malice. First-degree murder must be:
- Premeditated killing and
- Felony murder is when killings are while in the commission of another felony such as robbery. For example, if you shot someone while robbing a bank that is considered first-degree murder. You didn’t plan to kill the victim but you ended up killing them while robbing the bank.
Note that first-degree murder also has the potential of being charged as capital murder.
Second-degree murder- This is an unintentional killing where someone’s reckless acts cause someone’s death but it was a foreseeable consequence.
Conspiracy to Commit Murder
Now that we are familiar with both crimes murder and conspiracy we can explain what it means to be charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Conspiracy on its own is a class B felony or a gross misdemeanor depending completely on the underlying crime.
For example, if you conspired to commit murder then the conspiracy charge would be a category B felony.
If you committed lesser crimes then you may be charged with a gross misdemeanor for the conspiracy charge. So if you were ever accused of conspiracy to commit murder you will be charged for the murder or attempted murder if you didn’t succeed in killing the victim and conspiracy to commit murder as a separate charge for working with someone else to murder the victim.
What Are the Common Defenses
The prosecution must prove that there was an agreement between you and another to commit the crime of murder. If there is no actual evidence this can be a difficult thing to prove. There are three basic defenses to the charges of conspiracy to commit murder:
- There was no agreement-For example if you know someone involved in the conspiracy or have third hand knowledge of the conspiracy or even have a casual discussion, this does not make you guilty of conspiracy. The D.A must prove that you actually entered into an agreement to commit a crime. If this can’t be proven then the charges should be dropped.
- The agreement was a lawful one-You never entered into an agreement to commit a crime. Agreements are legal unless you intend to break the law. So unless the D.A can prove that you entered an agreement for the purpose of an illegal act then you can’t be charged with conspiracy.
- The evidence was obtained illegally– This is a common defense strategy, if the defense can prove that the evidence was obtained by the police without a search warrant or other illegal avenues then the evidence should not be presented to the court. This happens a lot more than you think and is used as a defense in many cases. Your defense team should enter a motion to suppress evidence if they believe that in your case they obtained evidence illegally.
Just a little side note that everyone should be aware of. It is NOT a defense to enter into an agreement with an undercover police officer.
We all remember the lady in Florida who had hired an undercover police officer to kill her husband and they faked his death and let her know on the show Cops.
She conspired to kill her husband with an undercover cop even though he was undercover and she was unaware it was a police officer. She was charged with conspiracy to commit murder because she was trying to have her husband killed. She just hired an undercover cop and not a hitman.
Now if the police had entrapped you into a conspiracy to commit murder then the case should be dropped. If the defense can prove that the police either undercover or not, force you into entering an agreement that you are not predisposed to do then that is considered entrapment.
Also, you can be acquitted of the crime that you were charged with the conspiracy for but still convicted of the conspiracy charge. For example, if you were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, a jury can find you innocent of the murder charge but guilty of the conspiracy charge. Sometimes juries don’t have the evidence to convict you of murder but the evidence can prove there was a conspiracy between two or more people. This is why conspiracy charges and conspiracy to commit murder are difficult cases and hiring a good lawyer is extremely important.
If you or someone you know is facing conspiracy to commit murder charges in Nevada, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The earlier you have an attorney on your side, the better your chances will be of fighting the charges and achieving the best possible outcome in your case.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Defense Attorney
Conspiracy to commit murder is a serious charge and if convicted of the murder charge alone you can spend the rest of your life in prison. The conspiracy charge alone can get you 10 years in state prison. You’ll need a defense attorney immediately to start the process.
Once you hire an expert law firm like The Defenders we will start with our own investigation of the incident with our in-house investigative team. We will go to all pre-trial hearings and any appearances related to your case either with you or for you.
All paperwork processing will be handled by our administrative staff who are experienced with all court paperwork processing ( and believe us court paperwork is daunting).
If you have actually been arrested and placed in jail we can do our best with our relationship with the courts to get you or your family member out on bail and attend the bail hearing with you.
Our team at The Defenders has over 40 years of experience defending all types of criminal charges including, DUI, white-collar financial crimes, robbery charges, and even conspiracy to commit murder.
We have expert lawyers on staff for any questions you may have and we are available for our clients 24/7 once you retain us.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime including a felony call The Defenders today and schedule a free case evaluation. During that visit, we will go over what you can expect from your case and what to expect from a defense team call today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the punishment for conspiracy to commit murder in Nevada?
The maximum punishment for conspiracy to commit murder in Nevada is 10 years in state prison and up to $5,000 in fines. If you are convicted of the underlying murder charge, you could face a life sentence.
What is the difference between conspiracy and attempt to commit murder?
The main difference between conspiracy and attempt to commit murder is that in order to be convicted of conspiracy, you must have an agreement with another person to commit the crime. An attempt requires that you take a substantial step towards committing the crime.
Can I be charged with conspiracy if I withdraw from the agreement before anything happens?
Yes. Even if you withdraw from the agreement before anything happens, you can still be charged with conspiracy.
What if I am charged with conspiracy but not the underlying crime?
You can still be convicted of conspiracy even if you are not convicted of the underlying crime. For example, if you are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, a jury can find you innocent of the murder charge but guilty of the conspiracy charge.