When someone agrees to commit a crime alongside another person, they put themselves at risk of being charged with conspiracy. These charges can be prosecuted in both state and federal courts, and the consequences of a conviction can be devastating. Therefore anyone charged with conspiracy is advised to hire a lawyer to represent them throughout the criminal proceedings.
Overcoming a conspiracy charge takes wit and legal expertise. A talented Irvine conspiracy lawyer can help you build a case that highlights your innocence, regardless of the evidence the prosecution has. Use the contact form on this page to reach out to a conspiracy lawyer in Irvine today.
Conspiracy Charges in California
State and federal legal codes state that anyone who agrees to commit a crime with another person has engaged in conspiracy. The crime does not need to be carried out. Even if it was only a plan, someone can be convicted of conspiracy. Though, sometimes conspiracy convictions require the defendant to have taken clear action toward committing the crime.
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Conspiracy Can Be a Felony or Misdemeanor
When you are being prosecuted for conspiracy, you could be subject to the state or federal court systems. Which one applies depends on the nature of your charges. Understand that, if the crime did occur, you can be charged with the crime and conspiracy for the same crime.
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What Counts as Conspiracy?
The language of California Penal Code 182 defines conspiracy as any event wherein two or more people plan to:
- Commit a crime
- Blame another person for a crime or place suspicion on another innocent person for a crime they committed
- Wrongfully file a lawsuit or proceeding against someone
- Commit fraud against another person
- Obtain property or finances using lies
- Take action to damage public health or obstruct justice and the administration of laws
- Engage in criminal action against a government leader
A good example of conspiracy would be a situation wherein two people plot to rob a home, then they camp out near their home, waiting for them to leave. Similarly, someone who plans to rob a store with another person and then buys a gun would have committed conspiracy.
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Fighting a Conspiracy Charge
You have the right to fight any conspiracy charge in court. Some defenses you can leverage include:
- You did not agree to commit the crime.
- You did not perform an overt act that showed your intent to commit the planned crime.
- You withdrew from the conspiracy before a certain amount of time passed.
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Understanding Conspiracy “Agreements”
The first step of conspiracy is agreeing to partake in the commission of a crime with another person. The agreement does not need to be a specific statement. Sometimes, courts will infer that an agreement was made based on the actions of the defendant. This usually occurs when both parties have a common reason to commit the crime.
To prove that you did not agree to commit a crime, you must provide evidence that you did not know a crime was going to be committed. Pleading ignorance to the crime is effective only if there is no critical evidence, like text messages showing that you did, in fact, agree to commit the crime.
Consequences for Conspiracy Convictions
The penalty for conspiracy depends on whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony. If you are charged with felony conspiracy, the punishment associated with the felony you planned to commit is what you would be sentenced to.
This means people who conspire to commit murder put themselves at risk of being sentenced to the same penalties as an actual murderer. In instances where an offender conspired to commit multiple felonies, they will be sentenced to the most severe penalty associated with the crimes.
With misdemeanor conspiracy convictions, the consequences are less severe. Though, a misdemeanor conspiracy charge can still result in imprisonment and significant fines. To avoid the worst outcome and potentially have your case lowered to a misdemeanor, work with an Irvine conspiracy attorney. They will evaluate your case to determine what steps can be taken to beat the charges.
Charges that Relate to Conspiracy
Conspiracy is closely tied to several other crimes. If you are involved in a conspiracy, you may also be charged with the following.
Gang Sentencing Enhancement
If you are convicted of felony conspiracy because you were trying to benefit a gang, you are subject to gang sentencing enhancement laws. The penalty for this is a mandated prison sentence that is ordered in addition to your felony prison sentence. How long this mandatory sentence will be depends on the nature of your crime.
Aiding and Abetting a Crime
Anyone who assists someone who is committing a crime has aided and abetted that crime. This makes them subject to penalties beyond conspiracy. Though, someone who helped another person commit an overt act towards the crime but did not make an agreement with them to help commit the crime has not committed conspiracy.
Accessory After the Fact
When people commit felonies, they often attempt to hide from the authorities. When someone helps them in their efforts to hide, they are making themselves an accessory to the crime after the fact. Doing this in order to protect them from conviction for their crimes will result in more penalties.
Build Your Conspiracy Defense
If the evidence is mounting against you, it is time to start building a stalwart defense. With the help of a conspiracy attorney in Irvine, you can increase your chances of overcoming these conspiracy charges. Do not wait. If you take too long to start building your case, you risk your freedom and financial security.
Reach out to an attorney today to learn what your options are. If you are overwhelmed, do not worry. A skilled legal professional can help you find solutions to this sticky situation. Use the contact form on this page to contact an attorney today.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form