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We often hear on the news that someone committed a conspiracy or solicited a person to do an act or even was charged with an attempted crime.

What do these really mean in the eyes of the law and how do they change the crime?

Conspiracy

Conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to do an act. A conspiracy is complete when the persons reach an agreement whether it be verbally or by some bodily act that lets another person know or believe they are agreeing with the proposed sequence of events or acts. The tricky part is that the first person who is being tried for conspiring (agreeing) to commit a crime and who is found guilty of the conspiracy may be convicted while his or her co-conspirators are later found not guilty of that same conspiracy. However, where only two people are charged with conspiracy, if the first person is found not guilty of conspiracy, a co-conspirator tried thereafter may not be tried for conspiracy, because there cannot be a conspiracy with only person. A conspiracy conviction is punished one class lower than the underlying crime for which the conspirators agreed to commit. For example, if 2 people are charged and convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery, the conspiracy will be punished as a Class E felony while the robbery is a Class D felony. A Class E felony is a slightly lower level felony than a Class D felony. This is generally true, except for a few specific crimes for which the statute requires a different sentence.

 

Attempt

Attempt requires a person to act intentionally for a purpose of bringing about a result AND the person must actually take a substantial step towards committing the act, even if the person does not succeed in actually completing the act or crime. The fact that the crime was impossible to complete is not a defense so long as the defendant intended to do it and tried to do it. An attempt crime is punished one class lower than the underlying crime, except for some offenses, such as attempted robbery, which is punished at the same class as robbery.

 

Solicitation

Solicitation occurs when a person encourages, advises, or ask a person to commit a crime with the intent that the person actually do it. Once the person makes the request of another, the act of solicitation is complete. It is not required that the person being solicited actually completes the crime. Solicitation is punished two classes below the underlying offense, except for some crimes that require a specific punishment by statute.

 

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