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What Are Conspiracy Crimes and How Are They Handled in Tennessee?

Conspiracy is a specific kind of intent crime. It is a crime where two or more people conspire to engage in some kind of criminal activity. Where do you draw the line between "just talk" and actually conspiring to commit a crime? Read on to learn about the elements that actually make it a conspiracy crime.

What is a Conspiracy Crime?

Under criminal law, conspiracy crime is when two or more people conspire to commit an illegal act and then take some action towards it. The crime can be civil or criminal. The actual crime does not have to be committed to be charged with a conspiracy crime. 

If a group of people plan to create a crime, such as robbing a house, and take steps to commit this crime, such as scope out the house and neighborhood security, purchase a weapon to assist in the crime, etc, then they can be charge with conspiracy to commit robbery even though they didn't actually rob the house. If you go through with committing the crime, you can actually get two charges. You can be charged with conspiracy to commit the crime, and you can be charged for the crime itself. 


Formal agreement isn't required in order for people to be charged with conspiracy to commit a crime. Agreement can be implied. For example, two or more people can commit a crime, which would imply that they "agreed" to commit the crime. 


Intent is one of the most important parts of a conspiracy to commit a crime case. If they can't prove intent, you likely won't be charged. If you tell your friend that you are planning to rob a house, your friend isn't automatically a co-conspirator. Now, if your friend wants to participate and plans on contributing to the crime in some way, then he would be a part of it. In order to prove intent, all conspirators must agree on committing the crime and achieving the outcome of it. 

Overt Act

In most cases, at least one of the people involved must take an actual step towards committing the crime. In our house robbery scenario, this could be renting a car to be the getaway car or purchasing a gun to use in the robbery. The Overt Act was put into law to protect people from being charged with conspiracy crimes for merely talking about it. If two friends jokingly talk about robbing a house, but have no intent of actually doing it, this act protects them from being charged. 

How Are Conspiracy Crimes Handled in Tennessee?

Tennessee code 39-12-103 defines conspiracy crimes in Tennessee. Basically, two or more parties have to mutually agree to commit a crime. The crime can be completed both partially or in full. 

Elements Required for a Conspiracy Crime Conviction

The following elements must be in place in order for someone to be charged with conspiracy to commit a crime:

  • The defendant entered into an agreement with one or more other people with the intention to commit a crime.

  • One of the people in the agreement did some action to further the plan or actually committed the crime. 

Penalties in Tennessee for Conspiracy

The penalty for a conspiracy to commit a crime charge varies depeding on what the crime is. A serious crime, such as murder, will hold a much harsher punishment than a civil crime. Punishments can include heavy fines, jail time, or possibly both.

Call Experienced Conspiracy Crime Attorneys at The Chiozza Law Firm

Have you been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime? Call the knowledgable attorneys at The Chiozza Law Firm for expert representation. You will want an attorney with extensive knowledge and experience in conspiracy crime cases. Our conspiracy crime lawyers will be your advocate to protect your rights and persuasively argue for your case.


For more, visit The Chiozza Law Firm, on Facebook and Twitter, or

www.901Law.com, the Memphis Law Firm for all your legal needs!


This Blog/Website is made available by the Lawyer or Law Firm Publisher for educational purposes only, as well as to give you information and a general understanding of the law. It is not to provide you with specific legal advice. By reading this blog, you understand there is no attorney/client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Posted by Brian Chiozza at 1:15 PM
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