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Illinois Conspiracy Laws

In Illinois, a conspiracy happens when two or more people agree to commit a crime. The specific elements are:

  • An agreement between two or more people (co-conspirators) to commit a crime;
  • The co-conspirators know about the plan and intend for it be carried out; and
  • At least one of the people involved in the conspiracy actually carries out some overt act to make the crime happen.

What's an "overt act?" It can be something as simple as buying the tools for a burglary or the gun for a murder. You can be charged with conspiracy, even if they had only a small part in the overall criminal act, as long as you had general knowledge of it and agreed to it.

Conspiracy is unique in Illinois because you can be charged with the actual crime and the conspiracy to commit it. For example, if you plan to rob a bank with your two friends, you can be charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

You also can't escape liability by claiming that the other co-conspirators weren't prosecuted or convicted, were convicted of a different crime, were acquitted, or lacked the capacity to commit the crime.

Illinois Conspiracy Laws Overview

The following table highlights the main provisions of Illinois's Conspiracy laws. See also Accomplice Liability, Aiding and Abetting/Accessory.

Code Section Criminal Code §720 ILCS 5/8-2
What is Prohibited? Knowingly making an agreement with another person to commit a criminal act and one member of the conspiracy commits an act to further along the crime.
Type of Crime Felony or misdemeanor
Who Prosecutes? State or local prosecutor.
Co-conspirators It is not a defense to conspiracy that the person or persons with whom the accused is alleged to have conspired:
(1) have not been prosecuted or convicted,
(2) have been convicted of a different offense,
(3) are not amenable to justice,
(4) have been acquitted, or
(5) lacked the capacity to commit an offense.

A person convicted of conspiracy to commit a:

  • Class X felony shall be sentenced for a Class 1 felony;
  • Class 1 felony shall be sentenced for a Class 2 felony;
  • Class 2 felony shall be sentenced for a Class 3 felony;
  • Class 3 felony shall be sentenced for a Class 4 felony;
  • Class 4 felony shall be sentenced for a Class 4 felony; and
  • Misdemeanor may be fined or imprisoned or both not to exceed the maximum provided for the offense that is the object of the conspiracy.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Illinois Conspiracy Laws: Related Resources

Learn More About Illinois Conspiracy Laws from an Attorney

Conspiracy laws can sometimes get complicated. So, if you have questions about your specific situation, it's a good idea to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois. An experienced attorney can help you manage your anxiety about the law, explain any possible defenses, and represent you in court, if necessary.

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