Answer: Drug conspiracy, there’s both federal and state drug conspiracy. And in general it is a conspiracy to obtain and distribute a controlled substance of some kind without authorization. And a conspiracy is any agreement amongst two or more people to do this activity, whatever it might be. So you have to look at the actual activity. So if it’s distribution of a drug, then the conspiracy would be an agreement between two or more people to obtain that drug and distribute it to others. There is actually no requirement that it be for profit, although in generally we would think it would be.
But that isn’t actually a requirement for the conspiracy. It just has to be an agreement between two or more people where they are going to take action, and with a drug conspiracy it is to obtain and distribute those drugs. Generally speaking, the conspiracy does not enhance the penalty. So the penalty depends on the amount of the drug that is obtained and distributed. So if it’s a Class H felony that’s up to a certain amount and then a higher felony would be up to a larger amount. And that varies depending on the drug. So the amount of cocaine that gets you to a Class H felony is different from the amount of marijuana that gets you to a Class H felony. But it’s all based on the amount of drug and what your intent is to distribute it.
Where the conspiracy can assist the prosecution or enhance the penalty to some degree is really because it makes it easier for the prosecutor to say, “I can’t prove that you yourself took these five actions, but I can prove that you were involved in this group and the outcome was that you obtained and distributed drugs.” So you were all in a conspiracy to do this and you all did individual activities in furtherance of the conspiracy so you’re all guilty of it and we can aggregate the weight.” So it’s not just the specific among of weight that was found, but the amount that the conspiracy obtained and distributed as a whole.
And each person is then responsible for the full amount of the weight, which can increase when you think about whether it’s a lower class felony or a higher class felony or, in the federal system under the guidelines, the amount of the drug you have increases the sentence. So you’re looking at, again, if you are responsible for what everyone in the group did rather than just being responsible for what you did, then it’s going to increase the penalty that you are potentially facing if they can prove that you are part of the agreement to obtain and distribute the drug.
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