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How you can be charged with a felony without committing a felony

There is a line from an old TV show that says, "Don't do the crime if you can't pay the time." Essentially, it means that committing a crime can come with consequences, and you need to know what these consequences are if you engage in unlawful activity.

However, perhaps the saying should have been more along the lines of, "Don't do the crime, or even plan to commit a crime and take one step toward committing it, if you can't pay the time." It might not have been quite as catchy, but it might be more accurate. This is because you could end up facing serious penalties for conspiring to commit a crime, even if the planned crime is never carried out.

Florida laws are quite clear when it comes to the act of planning to commit a crime, including acts of attempts, solicitation and conspiracy. You can be charged with a felony or misdemeanor if there is reason to suspect you planned to commit a crime and made even one step toward the completion of the crime, even if the offense itself was never executed.

In terms of conspiracy, for example, charges can be filed against you if you conspired with at least one other person to engage in a criminal act and if any of the people involved in the conspiracy acted in the pursuit of committing a crime. For instance, if you and another person conspired to grow and sell marijuana, it needs only to be shown that one of you did something to move the plan forward, like purchase growing supplies, even if the act itself is not illegal.

Whether the conspiracy charges are misdemeanors or felonies depends on the crime that was planned. More serious offenses, including murder or felony burglary, will mean a felony conspiracy charge. Less serious offenses, including third-degree felonies, will mean a misdemeanor conspiracy charge.

You can be very surprised and upset to learn that you are being arrested and charged in relation to a crime that may not have even been committed. However, there are defenses to these charges and you have the right to discuss your case and your options with an attorney familiar with possible defense strategies.

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