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Understanding Criminal Conspiracy in Arizona

In the realm of criminal law, the term “conspiracy” often carries a weight that can be unsettling. At the heart of these concerns lies the fear of being misunderstood or unfairly judged based on circumstances that may not fully reflect one’s intentions or actions.

In Arizona, understanding the intricacies of the crime of conspiracy is essential for those who are facing a conspiracy charge. Contact Litwak Law Group today to begin crafting your defense strategy that fits your needs to protect your rights and freedoms.

What Is Criminal Conspiracy in Arizona?

At its core, criminal conspiracy in Arizona is defined by a mutual agreement between two or more individuals to commit an offense, coupled with an intent to promote or facilitate the commission of that crime.

Arizona law, specifically under the Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1003, lays out the parameters of conspiracy:

  • Intent and Agreement: The essence of conspiracy lies in the intentional agreement to commit a crime. This agreement signifies a partnership in criminal purpose, where each party’s willingness to participate forms the crux of the offense.
  • Overt Act Requirement: For most conspiracies, the law requires that at least one involved party performs an overt act in furtherance of the agreed-upon crime. This act, which must occur after the agreement, serves as a tangible step towards the crime’s completion.
    • However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to this requirement

Exceptions to the Overt Act Requirement

Notably, Arizona law exempts certain grave offenses from the overt act requirement.

For instance, if the conspiracy aims at committing a felony upon another person or falls under specific serious offenses, the need for an overt act is waived. This exemption underscores the law’s stringent stance on conspiracies involving severe crimes.

Common Crimes Associated with Conspiracy Charges

Conspiracy charges in Arizona can arise in a variety of contexts, illustrating the broad applicability of this legal concept in addressing collaborative criminal activities.

These charges are particularly prevalent in cases where the collaborative nature of the crime amplifies its potential harm or complexity.

Understanding the common crimes associated with conspiracy charges can offer insights into the legal system’s efforts to curb collective criminal endeavors.

Drug Offenses: One of the most common scenarios where conspiracy charges are levied involves drug crimes, including the manufacture, distribution, or trafficking of controlled substances. The collaborative effort to distribute or produce drugs on a significant scale often triggers conspiracy charges, reflecting the law’s stringent approach to drug-related crimes.

Financial Crimes: Conspiracy charges also frequently surface in cases of financial wrongdoing, such as fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. These crimes, by their nature, often require a degree of planning and coordination that falls squarely within the definition of conspiracy.

Violent Crimes: While the requirement for an overt act is waived in conspiracies aiming at severe felonies like homicide, these charges still arise in the planning stages of violent crimes. The law’s stance is clear: even planning and agreeing to commit such acts, without taking further steps, can warrant severe penalties.

Organized Crime: The structure of organized crime rings, where multiple individuals work towards a common illegal goal, makes conspiracy charges a critical tool for law enforcement. These charges can help dismantle criminal organizations by holding members accountable for their collective actions, even if some did not directly commit the principal offense.

Classification and Penalties

The legal consequences and classification of conspiracy offenses in Arizona are directly tied to the severity of the intended crime.

The statutes articulate a clear framework for determining the gravity of conspiracy charges:

  • Degree of Conspiracy: The degree of conspiracy aligns with the most serious offense contemplated by the conspiratorial agreement. This ensures that the punishment reflects the potential harm envisioned by the conspirators.
  • Penalties: The penalties for conspiracy in Arizona are notably severe, especially when the conspiracy concerns class 1 felonies, such as murder. In such cases, individuals may face life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum service of twenty-five years before eligibility for any form of release.
    • For other offenses, the classification and resulting penalties mirror those of the intended crime.

Hypothetical Scenario: The Case of a Planned Robbery

Imagine a scenario where Alex, Jordan, and Casey plan to rob a local jewelry store. Alex proposes the idea, Jordan scouts the location and provides a detailed plan, while Casey agrees to drive the getaway car.

They meet several times to discuss their plan and even go as far as purchasing masks and a vehicle for the act.

However, before they can execute their plan, law enforcement, tipped off by an informant, arrests all three on conspiracy charges related to the planned robbery.

Under A.R.S. § 13-1003, the actions of Alex, Jordan, and Casey constitute a conspiracy to commit robbery:

  • Intent and Agreement: The trio’s discussions and mutual decision to rob the store demonstrate their agreement and intent, fulfilling the first criterion for a conspiracy charge.
  • Overt Act: The purchase of masks and a vehicle, chosen specifically for the robbery, serve as overt acts in furtherance of their criminal plan. These actions are concrete steps towards realizing their criminal objective, meeting the requirement for an overt act under the statute.
  • Legal Implications: Given the conspiracy’s focus on robbery, a serious felony, each member could face significant legal consequences.
    • The degree of the conspiracy would mirror the intended crime’s severity, positioning them for substantial penalties under Arizona law.
    • Even without executing the robbery, their preparatory actions expose them to these charges, underscoring the law’s preventive and punitive functions.

This hypothetical scenario illustrates how conspiracy law operates in Arizona, emphasizing the significance of intent, agreement, and overt acts in constituting a conspiracy.

Conspiracy laws can be very expansive which is why securing a criminal defense attorney is so important.


The crime of conspiracy in Arizona is a complex legal issue that carries significant implications for those accused. Understanding the nuances of this charge, from its definition and classification to the penalties and support available, is essential for anyone facing such allegations.

Remember, facing charges does not define a person; how they navigate through them does. Contact Litwak Law Group today to start taking steps towards protecting your freedom.