The crime of conspiracy requires an agreement between two or more persons to do something unlawful. The essence of the crime is the agreement to violate the law. To establish a conspiracy, the prosecutor must prove three elements: (1) an agreement to commit an unlawful act; (2) the defendant’s knowledge of the agreement and voluntary participation in it; and (3) an overt act by at least one of the co-conspirators in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The crime of conspiracy requires an agreement between two or more persons to do something unlawful. The partners in the criminal plan must agree to pursue the same criminal objective. The prosecutor need not prove the specific details of a plan, only that the conspirators agreed to the plan’s essential nature. The scope of a conspiracy is determined by the scope of the agreement, and if there is no agreement, there is no conspiracy. The requisite intent needed for a conspiracy conviction is that the defendant intended to join in the conspiracy and intended the substantive offense to be committed.
In order to a prove conspiracy, the prosecutor must present some evidence from which it can reasonably be inferred that the person charged with conspiracy knew of the existence of the scheme alleged in the indictment and knowingly joined and participated in it. The defendant must be proven to have some knowledge of the conspiracy’s objectives; however, there is no requirement that an accused know every objective of the conspiracy.
An overt act is any statement or act that is knowingly done by one or more of the conspirators in an effort to accomplish a purpose of the conspiracy; it need not be in violation of the law or be a crime itself. Additionally, the other conspirators need not join or participate in it or even know about it. The conduct may be as innocent as traveling to another city, placing a phone call, crossing the street, stopping payment on checks, as long as it is in furtherance of the purposes of the conspiracy. An act committed after the conspiracy is over, is not an “overt act” because it is not in furtherance of the conspiracy. Proof of a single overt act is sufficient, and each member need not perform an overt act.