Conspiracy charges can apply any time a group of individuals work together in California to plan a criminal act. The broad definition of California Penal Code Section 182: Conspiracy means that many acts can lead to conspiracy charges.
Get help understanding how conspiracy charges work in the court system in California right here. The Simmrin Law Group can go over the penalties for a conspiracy conviction. You can even learn more about the difference between state and federal conspiracy charges.
State Charges of Conspiracy in California
The state of California uses PC 182 to prosecute acts of conspiracy. Conspiracy charges can apply if:
- Two or More People Agree to Commit a Crime
- They Take Action to Further the Commission of the Crime
Note that taking action to further the commission of the crime does not necessarily mean that an individual performs a criminal act. In fact, individuals can be convicted of conspiracy even if no crime is carried out. Merely taking steps to commit a crime is enough to lead to a conspiracy conviction.
For example, if three people decide to burn down their boss’s house AND they go buy matches or accelerant, they can be convicted of conspiracy. The conspiracy charge can apply whether or not they actually manage to commit arson.
Penalties for a PC 182 Conviction in California
The penalties for conspiracy can vary based on the types of crime individuals conspired to commit. Generally, individuals who are convicted of conspiracy will face the same penalties that would normally apply to the crime. In many cases, individuals can face:
Misdemeanor Conspiracy Penalties:
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Jail Time: Up to 1 Year
Felony Conspiracy Penalties
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- Jail Time: Up to 3 Years
Note that individuals may face fines of up to $25,000 for conspiracy to commit identity theft. Additionally, conspiracy to commit murder will always face the same penalties as a first-degree murder conviction. These penalties can include:
- 25 Years to Life in a State Prison
- The Death Penalty
Federal Conspiracy Charges in California
Conspiracy charges in California can be further complicated because conspiracy is sometimes prosecuted in the federal court system. Generally, federal conspiracy charges only apply if a group attempts to:
- Carry Out a Crime Against the United States
- Defraud the United States
You should be aware the federal conspiracy charges under 18 U.S.C. Section 371 can lead to incredibly harsh penalties.
Building a Defense for Conspiracy Charges in California
Conspiracy charges are often difficult to handle on your own because you can be convicted of conspiracy without ever carrying out the planned criminal act. You can increase your chances of successfully handling this charge by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer right away.
A legal professional working on your defense may be able to show that:
You Did Not Agree to Commit a Crime
You must agree to carry out a criminal act with one or more other people to face a conspiracy conviction. This means that you should not face a conspiracy charge if there was no prior planning before a criminal act occurred.
You Never Took a Step to Commit a Criminal Act
Planning to rob someone, or to commit any other crime, may not be nice, but being unkind isn’t a criminal offense in California. If you planned to commit a crime but never took any steps to carry it out, you should not be convicted of conspiracy. Note that you do not have to carry out the crime to be convicted of conspiracy. Even if you only bought something that would be necessary for the crime, you could be convicted in California.
You Backed Out of the Conspiracy
You may initially agree to be a part of a conspiracy and then change your mind. If you reject the conspiracy before the crime is carried out you may be able to avoid a conspiracy conviction. Note that the court can convict you if you try to back out of a conspiracy after the crime already occurred.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About Conspiracy Charges
Getting professional help on your side can make handling conspiracy charges on the state or federal level easier. The Simmrin Law Group can help build your defense if you are charged under California Penal Code Section 182: Conspiracy. Go over your options today with a FREE case evaluation.
You can get the legal advice you need by contacting our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles. Call (310) 896-2723, or fill out our online contact form to get started.