Besides the actual crimes on the books in Arkansas, there are what are known as “inchoate crimes.” These are crimes that fall short of all the elements of a particular crime but can also lead to criminal charges. Conspiracy is an example of an inchoate or incomplete crime. And you might be surprised how little the prosecution must prove to convict someone of conspiring to commit a crime like drug trafficking.
Basically, when at least two people agree to commit a crime, then take some action toward committing the crime, a criminal conspiracy has occurred. This is true even if the crime never ends up taking place and if the action taken in furtherance of the conspiracy was not itself a crime.
For example, say Person A and Person B decide to sell heroin. Person A then scouts locations to serve as their possible base of operations, while Person B tries to contact someone to act as their supplier. But the supplier never gets back to Person B, and the two abandon their plan.
At no point did Person A or Person B possess or distribute heroin. But because they made a plan to sell drugs and took minor steps toward completing their scheme, both of them could be arrested and charged with conspiracy to traffic.
How conspiracies are punished in Arkansas
Arkansas law treats most conspiracies nearly as seriously as they do the actual associated crimes. If a defendant allegedly conspired to commit a Class C felony, they are charged with Class D felony-level conspiracy. If the underlying crime is a Class B felony, the conspiracy charge will be at Class C felony level — and so forth.
Because there is relatively little that must be proven to get a conviction, and the potential sentence can be very heavy, you must take a conspiracy charge seriously. The best thing someone charged with participating in a criminal conspiracy can do to help themselves is to hire a tough and experienced defense attorney.