Texas & Federal Criminal Conspiracy Lawyers
Theoretically, “guilt by association” does not exist in either Texas or federal law. Under both sets of laws, “Mere presence at the scene of a crime” is not enough to convict someone for the crime committed—whatever the object of the supposed conspiracy. But the distinction between “guilt by association” and being charged as a party to some criminal act can be pretty hazy.
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Case Study: The Waco Twin Peaks Cases
In the aftermath of the Twin Peaks shootout in Waco, Texas, a huge number of men were indicted for acts of violence allegedly committed by a very few. Party liability was the justification. Twin Peaks is a good example of the danger of taking “the law of parties” too far.
Many federal cases are based upon party liability or conspiracy theories, which also play a significant role in many Texas state prosecutions, as does the offense of “Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity,” which is the charged leveled against the Twin Peaks defendants.
Federal Drug Conspiracy Charge Defense Lawyer
More commonly, prosecutors will bring conspiracy charges in relation to a drug distribution or drug trafficking crimes. Often, prosecutors will use conspiracy as an “add on” to one of these drug crimes. The lawyers at Westfall Sellers have experience defending both drug trafficking and conspiracy to commit drug trafficking offenses.
When can I be charged for the acts of someone else?
In federal fraud cases, a person is guilty of conspiracy if the Government can prove three elements:
- The Defendant and at least one other person agreed to commit a crime;
- The Defendant knew the unlawful purpose of the agreement and joined in it willfully, that is, with the intent to further the unlawful purpose; and
- That one of the conspirators during the existence of the conspiracy knowingly committed at least one overt act to accomplish the object or purpose of the conspiracy.
Essentially, when the government believes you aided or encouraged another to commit a criminal offense, then you can be charged as though you did the acts yourself. This law is routinely stretched to the point that innocent people can—and do—get charged. If a police officer is making comments to you suggesting you may be a witness or a suspect, it is time to stop talking and call a lawyer. The officer is already thinking about charging you as a party; that’s why you’ll want to start looking for the best criminal defense lawyer for you to handle your case.
Contact an Experienced Conspiracy Defense Lawyer Today
Many times people find themselves in trouble by trying to talk their way out of it. Do not try to match wits with an officer, or risk making a false statement to a federal agent, which is a separate criminal offense. If you have received a call from someone in law enforcement, whether a local police department or the FBI, wanting to talk to you about some criminal activity that you know about, you should always speak with an attorney before calling back.
You may not realize that this officer or agent could be building a case against you, if for no other reason than to get you in a compromising position so that you can be turned into a witness against others in the alleged conspiracy.
Remember: not every lawyer out there is the best defense lawyer in Texas for you. You’ll want to set up an initial consultation with a lawyer and see if they have experience handling cases like yours.
If you believe you are under investigation, contact the lawyers at Westfall Sellers today at 817-345-7920.
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