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Not guilty of federal conspiracy, federal conversion - theft of military vehicles. As three defendants awaited sentencing for felony conspiracy and theft convictions, Attorney Tracey Wood and her client walked out of the courtroom. He client was found not guilty on all charges.
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Van Wagner & Wood, Wisconsin Criminal Defense Attorneys

A conspiracy exists when two or more people form an agreement to do some act or refrain from doing some act. A conspiracy to commit a crime is a crime in and of itself, which means that conspiracy is charged as a crime separate and apart from the crime that the parties to the conspiracy conspired to commit. There are several reasons for a prosecutor to charge conspiracy, and despite the fact that the law defines conspiracy as "agreement" between two or more persons, only one person need intend to commit a crime out of the conspiracy.

Felony Offense

Under Wisconsin laws, conspiracy is a Class B Felony.

Wisconsin Statute

Wisconsin Statute 939.31 provides: anyone who with intent that a crime be committed, agrees or combines with another for the purpose of committing that crime may, if one or more of the parties to the conspiracy does an act to effect its object, be fined or imprisoned or both not to exceed the maximum provided for the completed crime; except that for a conspiracy to commit a crime for which the penalty is life imprisonment, the actor is guilty of a Class B felony, unless the conspiracy is to manufacture, distribute or deliver a controlled substance.

Wisconsin Law: More than 1 person forms a conspiracy

Criminal conspiracy requires at least two people to form the conspiracy, but there is no maximum limit to the number of coconspirators that can be involved in the conspiracy. As well, all parties to the conspiracy need not intend to commit the crime, but rather, only one person need intend to complete the criminal act.

More than 1 party to a conspiracy, but only 1 defendant

Even if there are two or more people involved in the conspiracy, there are situations in which only one person is charged with conspiracy. A conspirator must have the mental intent to commit a crime. A co-conspirator who appears to agree with the conspiracy, but lacks the mental intent to commit the crime, is without criminal liability. Nevertheless, when police arrest parties to a conspiracy, they often times arrest all conspirators regardless of any one conspirator's mental intent.

Informants Involved In Conspiracy

If an informant appears to form an agreement with another for the purposes of forming a conspiracy, some jurisdictions have held that a true conspiracy was not formed. However, Wisconsin law provides that even if one of the parties to a two-party conspiracy is an informant, a conspiracy was formed if one party had the mental intent to commit a crime. If one party intended to commit a crime, a criminal conspiracy existed.

Multiple Conspiracies & Multiple Crimes

If the object of the conspiracy is to commit more than one crime, then the defendants can be charged with criminal conspiracy for each conspired crime. If the intent was to commit more than one crime, and at least one crime was committed, then the defendants can be charged with conspiracy for each intended crime plus the completed crime.

Conspirator Accomplice Liability

Wisconsin law recognizes accomplices to a crime - those who are party to the crime before the fact, during the fact, and after the fact. A conspirator who plans, aids, assists, hires, advises, counsels, or otherwise procures another to commit a crime is an accomplice to the crime. Accomplice liability makes any accomplice to the crime guilty of the crime. So, under accomplice liability theory of Wisconsin law, a conspirator who assist with the crime is an accomplice, and therefore, is guilty of the crime unless he properly abandons the conspiracy. Additionally, under accomplice theory, a conspirator is guilty for all of the crimes that the conspiracy commits including collateral injuries or deaths that occurred but were not the intended purpose of the conspiracy.

Stopping a Conspiracy

Under Wisconsin law, if a conspiracy is formed and a conspirator has a voluntary change of heart or mind which causes him to want to abandon all plans to commit a crime, then he must withdraw from the conspiracy and notify the other parties concerned of his withdrawal within a reasonable time before the commission of the crime so as to allow the others also to withdraw. If a conspirator's withdrawal is not voluntary, then he is still subject to criminal liability for conspiracy. Involuntary withdrawal can occur in many ways, but the most common would be through an arrest.

Exceptions To Notification

In some situations, a conspirator who withdraws from a conspiracy may be allowed to withdraw without notification and still avoid criminal liability for the crime. Those situations depend upon the nature and purpose of the conspiracy, but in general, they include harm to the withdrawing conspirator, harm to the conspirator's family, or some other grave and serious occurrence threatening the health and life of people if the other conspirators were to learn of the withdrawal.

Experienced Legal Representation

Attorney Chris Van Wagner and Attorney Tracey Wood have handled more than 100 felony trials to verdict, many of which involved criminal conspiracy charges. Both Attorney Van Wagner & Attorney Wood have defended many people who were accused of conspiracy. Van Wagner & Wood represented a defendant in Wisconsin largest theft case ever who was acquitted on all charges while three other defendants represented by other attorneys were convicted and sentenced to very long federal prison terms.

Many criminal defense attorneys never experience the thrill of an outright acquittal in their career, and yet the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood have won several for their clients. This winning trial record reflects their hard work, their intelligent and professional approach to their cases, and their skill in developing successful trial strategies.

If you are under investigation for criminal conspiracy, the situation may seem hopeless. It is not, but by placing your case in Van Wagner & Wood's hands, you will know that you have the good, solid, competent, experienced, well-regarded and highly respected help of Van Wagner & Wood, an "AV-rated" law firm of super lawyers, Madison's Best, and prized advocates.

Free Initial Consultation

If you have been charged (or convicted) of criminal conspiracy, contact Van Wagner & Wood for a brief but professional free first impression analysis of your case and your situation, which will allow you to better understand what you need to do to defend the case against you.

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