Criminal Conspiracy Law and Legal Definition

In North Carolina a criminal conspiracy -- a partnership in crime -- is defined as "an agreement between two or more persons to do an unlawful act or to do a lawful act in an unlawful way or by unlawful means." In order to be convicted of a North Carolina conspiracy offense, a defendant must be shown to have "entered into an unlawful confederation for the criminal purposes alleged." According to the pattern jury instructions for criminal prosecutions in North Carolina, there are three essential elements of such a conspiracy offense: (1) "that the defendant and [another] entered into an agreement"; (2) "that the agreement was to commit [a crime]"; and (3) "that the defendant and [his coconspirator(s)] intended that the agreement be carried out at the time it was made." United States v. White, 571 F.3d 365, 368 (4th Cir. N.C. 2009)