A conspiracy charge is a charge that is in addition to a criminal offense. A conspiracy charge will have steep consequences regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony offense. However, a conspirator can be found guilty of conspiracy without being found guilty of a crime.
There are instances where a crime does not need to occur, and the individuals can still face conspiracy charges. Conspiracy means that two or more parties plan and agree to commit an illegal act. Additionally, at least one party must have taken overt action to move the plan along.
Since the requirements for a conspiracy are often vague, the evidence to prove the conspiracy is often insufficient. When facing a conspiracy charge, you must contact an Arcadia conspiracy lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group to discuss your options.
The Components of Conspiracy
There are three key components in a conspiracy charge. You cannot face a conspiracy charge if even one element is missing. Additionally, the prosecutor must prove these components before you can face any consequences.
The components are:
- Agreement: The first part of the conspiracy is agreeing to commit a crime and making a plan. There must be two or more people who agree to a plan.
- Intention: A verbal agreement is not enough for a conspiracy. All of the parties have full intention to complete the criminal act, and there must also be an intention to follow through with the crime.
- Overt action: At least one individual in the group must take overt action to facilitate the crime, like watching a home or buying ski masks.
All three conspiracy elements must be present. The commission of even one means there is no conspiracy. Additionally, there must be two or more parties in the conspiracy to commit the crime.
The most critical element of conspiracy is overt action. Many prosecutors will heavily rely on this element because it is often the only one they can prove. Overt act means that a person physically took action to commit the crime.
While an agreement is step one, those are just words. It is when action is taken that matters change.
An overt action does not need to be illegal itself. Buying the supplies to commit a crime is not unlawful. Remember that only one party has to take action for the entire group to face conspiracy charges.
If you were part of the group and you did give an agreement but did not take action, your case can get tricky. While you agreed, you might not have had the intention to go through with the crime. However, the moment someone in the group does take action, all of you can be held liable.
For a free legal consultation with a conspiracy lawyer serving Arcadia, call (310) 928-9347
Conspiracy Charges You Can Face in Arcadia
Remember that while many cases result from the commission of a crime, not all do. A prime example is two individuals sitting in a vehicle with ski masks and guns ready outside a bank. A police officer catches them before they enter the bank. The crime did not happen, but the individuals did conspire to commit the crime.
You do not need to commit a crime to face a conspiracy charge. You can face federal and state conspiracy charges that can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Your punishment will vary depending on the charges and whether it is on a state or federal level.
A felony in California is considered a crime with a punishment of over one year in prison. Committing multiple felonies means the conspiracy charges will equal the most severe felony. Some felony crimes include fraud, the sale of a controlled substance, murder, and obstruction of justice.
Misdemeanor charges require a punishment of less than one year in jail. Many individuals think that because these charges are less severe, they do not need a conspiracy lawyer in Arcadia, but that is not true. Aside from jail time, you will also need to pay fines and be on probation.
If you commit any additional crimes, the state can upgrade them simply due to your criminal record. Misdemeanor crimes can also fall under wobbler classifications. The charge can result in a felony conviction if the offense is serious or harmful.
Arcadia Conspiracy Lawyer Near Me (310) 928-9347
Defenses for Conspiracy Charges
The three elements of conspiracy are difficult to prove, and you need to ensure that the conspiracy attorney in Arcadia can defend you appropriately. One defense strategy is proving there was no agreement to the plan and, therefore, no conspiracy. They were just words, or you disagreed with the plan; you were present while others were speaking on the topic.
Additionally, there may not have been an intention to commit the crime, which means no conspiracy. Before anyone could take overt action, you withdrew from the conspiracy and can not be held liable for the crime or any other activity. Since overt action is vital, if no group member took any step towards the follow through, then conspiracy is not present. Sometimes other defendants will try to help their case by placing additional blame on you.
One final defense is the improper collection of evidence. Law enforcement is known to abuse its power, and if we can prove that the police collected the evidence through an illegal search and seizure, the prosecution cannot use it for your case. There is a chain of command when collecting evidence; if that chain is broken, the evidence may be inadmissible.
Speak with an Arcadia Conspiracy Attorney
When your Arcadia conspiracy lawyer finds these elements, they will file petitions to suppress this evidence. Without evidence, the prosecution cannot prove there was a conspiracy, resulting in a complete case dismissal.
Simmrin Law Group has conspiracy lawyers in Arcadia with years of experience handling various criminal cases. The prosecutor is working extremely hard to charge and convict you. Call an Arcadia conspiracy lawyer today.