Can text messages regarding discussion of drug sales be used to charge someone, even if the crime was never committed?

Asked on October 4, 2015 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends why the crime was never committed. If it was never committed because the parties were arrested first, or because they tried to commit the crime but ran into some practical difficulty, then yes, they can be charged it is a crime to attempt a criminal act, or to enter into a conspiracy e.g. agreement to commit a crime.
On the other hand, if it can be shown that the messages had nothing to do with planning or committing a crime e.g. it was just purely hypothetical or for personal amusement, then there either should be no charges if it's reasonably evident this was the case or else the charged individuals may have a good defense at trial if it will take some other testimony or evidence to establishing this.

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