Criminal Conspiracy under Florida Law
Criminal conspiracy charges can be brought under State law or Federal law. When the charges are brought under the laws of the State of Florida, a criminal conspiracy is the agreement to commit a criminal act or acts, and if a single agreement exists. Only one conspiracy exists even if the conspiracy has as its objectives the commission of multiple offenses.
Conspiracy charges are particularly common in serious drug trafficking charges.
If you were charged under Florida law for any conspiracy crime then contact a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County, and the surrounding areas in Tampa Bay, FL.
Defenses to Conspiracy Charges
One defense for conspiracy charges under Florida law is the “voluntary abandonment” defense. “Voluntary abandonment” can be asserted as a defense to any conspiracy charge under Florida law when the defendant renounces a plan to commit a criminal act, and communicates the fact that he has renounced the plan to commit the criminal act to the co-conspirators at a time when the co-conspirators also have sufficient time to abandon the plan.
When the criminal act is not actually committed, or when the defendant abandoned the plan prior to it being committed, the prosecutor may argue that the abandonment was not “voluntary” by proving beyond all reasonable doubt that the abandonment occurred only because of some unexpected difficulty in executing the plan to commit the criminal act.
The Scope and Limitations of the Conspiracy
Under Florida law, the conspiracy continues to exist until it is completed, consummated, terminated or otherwise abandoned through an affirmative act. As the appellate court concluded in Epps v. State, 354 So. 2d 441, 442 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978):
A single conspiracy may have for its object the violation of two or more criminal laws or two or more substantive offenses. The conspiracy is still one offense, no matter how many repeated violations of the law may have been the object of the conspiracy.
Furthermore, as the court found in Aiello v. State, 390 So. 2d 1205 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980), “In essence, the question is what is the nature of the agreement. If there is one overall agreement among the various parties to perform different functions in order to carry out the objectives of the conspiracy, then it is one conspiracy.” Id. at 1207 (quoting United States v. Perez, 489 F.2d 51, 62 (5th Cir. 1973)).
Definitions in Conspiracy Charges under Florida Law
Florida Statute Section 777.04, subsection one defines the term “attempts” or attempted criminal charges:
A person who attempts to commit an offense prohibited by law and in such attempt does any act toward the commission of such offense, but fails in the perpetration or is intercepted or prevented in the execution thereof, commits the offense of criminal attempt….
Florida Statute Section 777.04, subsection two defines the term “solicits” or solicitation charges:
A person who solicits another to commit an offense prohibited by law and in the course of such solicitation commands, encourages, hires, or requests another person to engage in specific conduct which would constitute such offense or an attempt to commit such offense commits the offense of criminal solicitation….
Florida Statute Section 777.04, subsection three defines the term “conspires” as follows:
A person who agrees, conspires, combines, or confederates with another person or persons to commit any offense commits the offense of criminal conspiracy, ranked for purposes of sentencing as provided in subsection (4).
Choosing an Attorney for Conspiracy Charges in Florida
Contact a criminal defense attorney in Tampa at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss any criminal conspiracy, attempts or solicits charge in state court in the Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, and Hernando County, FL. Call (813) 250-0500 to speak with an attorney today in the office or over the phone.
Last updated by Jason D. Sammis on Friday, September 12, 2014.