Under Penal Code §182, various parties can face a conspiracy charge when involved in a crime. You can face a conspiracy charge when one or more people agree to commit a criminal act, and one person in the group commits an overt act toward the illegal act. Conspiracy charges are typically seen on the federal level, but you can also face state conspiracy charges in California.
A conspiracy conviction can result when there is an agreement to commit the act, the group commits the action or both. Conspiracy is a felony but can also be a wobbler offense. You need to contact an Anaheim conspiracy lawyer from Simmrin Law Group when facing a criminal charge.
The Components of Conspiracy
The state can file conspiracy and criminal charges when multiple parties commit a crime. Conspiracy charges are only seen as an addition to other charges. However, there must be at least two people who conspire to commit the crime.
One caveat to remember is that while a person can be found not guilty of committing an illegal act, they can still be found guilty of conspiracy. There are three critical components of a conspiracy charge, including:
- Agreement: The most obvious is agreeing to commit an illegal act or to cause harm. There must be a plan and an agreement on the role of the plan.
- Intention: The conspirators must also intend to commit the criminal act.
- Overt action: Lastly, at least one of the conspirators must have taken steps to move the crime forward. Important to remember is that only one person must commit an overt act for the entire group to be found guilty.
Defining an Overt Action
Many actions are considered overt actions. While buying ski masks and shovels is one example, the action is not always purchasing an item. Watching or scoping out where the crime will occur is also an overt action.
Regarding conspiracy, overt action is one of the critical elements. It ensures that parties cannot face a criminal charge solely on a verbal agreement. Without intent and action, there can be no conspiracy.
For a free legal consultation with a conspiracy lawyer serving Anaheim, call (310) 896-2723
There are several ways to handle a conspiracy charge. First, you can face a state or federal conspiracy charge. Additionally, you can face a felony or misdemeanor charge.
Once those two classifications are determined, a conspiracy charge will add to the criminal act. If you face four years for a crime, you will also face four years for conspiracy to commit that crime. When there are multiple charges, the most severe crime will determine what you will face with the conspiracy charge.
However, this will vary depending on whether the alleged crime was on a state or federal level.
Felony charges in California carry imprisonment of over one year. Felonies are crimes such as murder, fraud, obstruction of justice, and rape, among others. Misdemeanor charges are crimes that result in less than one year in jail.
Having an Anaheim conspiracy lawyer on your side is essential because a misdemeanor can also fall into the wobbler category.
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Defenses for Conspiracy Charges
There are several defenses available for conspiracy charges, especially regarding overt actions. Overt action is very complex and only requires one person in the group to commit the act. Remember, the overt act is not illegal but contributes to the crime.
The prosecution will need to prove several elements to charge you with a conspiracy. They must prove that you agreed with another person to commit a crime. When you agreed to the crime, someone in the group was the person who was going to commit a crime.
Someone in the group committed an overt act or actions to help carry out the crime. Lastly, the crime took place in California.
Just Being Present Isn’t Enough for a Conviction
One important note is that simply associating with someone who conspires to commit or commits a crime is insufficient. Being present during the conspiracy does not result in a guilty verdict or even a conspiracy charge. So long as you do not commit or intend to commit the crime, you cannot be held legally responsible.
The Legal Strategies for Defense
There are several legal strategies available for those facing conspiracy charges. The most common defenses are:
- No agreement to participate
- Withdrawal from the conspiracy
- No party took no overt action toward the conspiracy
- Improper handling of evidence
Agreeing to a crime is difficult to prove, especially since it is unlikely that you formed a criminal contract. When the agreement was oral without proof or the crime did not happen, the prosecution will be unable to prove that you were part of a conspiracy.
Agreeing to a crime is insufficient; you must also take overt action to facilitate the illegal act. Purchasing a shovel is an example of an action of a conspiracy. While the shovel would come in handy during the crime, it does not mean you bought it for that purpose.
Your conspiracy lawyer in Anaheim will need to prove you took these actions for something other than the crime, such as gardening or remodeling around the yard.
The Importance of Evidence
Evidence will make or break any case; when the state or other party mishandles or does not adequately collect the evidence, the prosecution cannot present it in your case. One common occurrence is an illegal search and seizure or improper chain of custody.
Your Anaheim conspiracy lawyer will request evidence to be suppressed which results in the weakening of the case. If the case is too weak, it can face dismissal.
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Federal Conspiracy Laws
While there are state conspiracy laws, you must also consider federal laws. There is a general federal conspiracy law, but there are also more specific laws related to:
- Restraining trade
- Commit sports bribery
- Citizens rights
- Monopolizing trade
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Talk to a Conspiracy Attorney in Anaheim
When you are charged with a crime in Anaheim, you will need the help of a criminal lawyer. If there is also the possibility of conspiracy charges, you need a lawyer who knows these charges’ ins and outs. Ensure you call the conspiracy attorney in Anaheim from Simmrin Law Group.
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