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Usually, if the District Attorney wants to obtain a conviction against a defendant, then they must prove that the defendant actually committed a crime. The situation is a bit different with criminal conspiracy. With these cases, a defendant can be convicted merely based on having made plans to commit a crime as long as some other elements are met.
Whether you have been charged with criminal conspiracy in California or suspect that you may soon be questioned by police regarding a conspiracy, now is the time to hire legal counsel. It’s never a good idea to speak with the police without having an attorney present. Even if you believe you are completely innocent you still need a criminal defense attorney at your side. That’s because the police zealously pursue charges, and they are not above twisting anything you say to fit their interpretation of the evidence. Don’t jeopardize your future by talking to them without a defense attorney. Contact us today about Los Angeles conspiracy charges before speaking with the police.
What Is a Conspiracy?
In California, a person can be charged with conspiracy at either the federal or state level. Federal charges carry heavier penalties, but even if you are being charged with violating Penal Code Section 182, the state law regarding conspiracy, you need to vigilantly protect your rights. Conspiracy is nearly always charged at the felony level. This means that you could be looking at serious jail or prison time if you are convicted.
California law defines conspiracy as a plan between at least two individuals to carry out a crime. Simply talking about an imagined crime is not enough to support a conspiracy arrest in Los Angeles. Instead, one of the parties to the conspiracy must perform what the law calls an “overt act” that is intended to further the commission of the crime. This overt act can be almost anything, even something that seems totally innocuous. Making a phone call, buying a gun, ordering a large amount of fertilizer, writing a letter and renting a car could all be considered overt acts. Notice that none of these actions is inherently illegal. They are actions that millions of people perform every day. The difference is that two or more individuals planned a crime and then at least one of those people took a concrete step toward actually committing the crime.
Conspiracy laws were initially enacted as a means of bringing down the mafia and other organized crime syndicates. However, the application of the law has broadened in recent decades. While conspiracy laws may still be used to bring down a criminal organization from top to bottom they also may be used to convict a pair of friends or family members who plan any number of crimes. These crimes may range from insurance fraud to murder and include everything in between. Contact a California criminal conspiracy attorney to learn how to protect your rights.
Who Can Be Charged With Conspiracy?
Charges cannot be brought against the parties to a conspiracy unless an overt act is committed. However, once a party to the conspiracy takes that step everyone who participated in the planning of the crime can be arrested. This includes people who did not know that the overt act actually happened. If you believe that you may be under suspicion, then you need an effective, seasoned Los Angeles criminal conspiracy defense attorney working for you. The sooner you call to set up an initial consultation, the sooner your rights will be protected. Don’t face the police alone.
Penalties for California Criminal Conspiracy
Anyone who is convicted of being involved in a criminal conspiracy in Los Angeles may be facing a lengthy prison term. The situation is only worsened if the planned crime actually occurred. For instance, if two people plan to commit a murder and then carry through with their plan, then they can be charged with both conspiracy and murder. Being charged with two crimes makes for an especially complicated situation. It also means being liable to longer sentencing guidelines. The defendant may be sentenced to a term in prison for the crime that was committed and also for being involved in the conspiracy to commit the crime.
Even if the crime did not go forward, defendants will find themselves facing a sentence similar to the one they might have been given if they had successfully carried off the crime. Accordingly, conspirators who discussed burglarizing a residence and completed an overt act toward that crime will be facing the usual two, four or six years of imprisonment that might have been the penalty for actually burglarizing a home.
Los Angeles Criminal Conspiracy Attorneys
Remember that the police and the District Attorney are not on your side. It’s not unusual for them to use heavy-handed tactics and psychological games to lead you to implicate yourself even if you believe that you are completely innocent. Don’t let law enforcement and prosecutors railroad you. Stand up for yourself by working with a criminal defense attorney.
The Los Angeles criminal conspiracy attorneys at this firm have extensive experience when it comes to defending people against conspiracy charges. A number of defense strategies are available to you, and our lawyers possess the skill, talent and knowledge that are required to preserve your rights. Act soon so you can begin protecting yourself from an attack by the state or federal court system.