If I was arrested and charged for a crime and the charges were dismissed, can I later be charged with conspiracy to commit these crimes?

The crime I was accused of was theft over $500 and breaking and entering. During this crime a vehicle was stolen and burned. Now they are charging me with arson for the truck. Is this legal or does this fall under double jeopardy?

Asked on June 9, 2014 under Criminal Law, Louisiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Double jeopardy is inapplicable here because each criminal offense has different elements.  Arson, theft, breaking and entering all have different elements which define the particular crime.  Each element of the offense has to be proven.  Since there are different elements in each of the charges against you, being charged with arson is not double jeopardy.

Conspiracy requires an agreement with another party for an unlawful purpose.  An act, which may itself be lawful, in furtherance of the conspiracy is an overt act which establishes evidence of a conspiracy.  Conspiracy is separate from the offense itself.  For example, conspiracy to commit arson is separate from the crime of arson.  Therefore, being charged with both conspiracy and the critme itself does not constitute double jeopardy. 


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