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Penal Code 182 PC California Criminal Conspiracy

Pursuant to Penal Code 182 PC, a criminal conspiracy is defined by California law as a situation in which (1) someone agrees to commit a crime with one or more other people, and (2) one of the parties acts to promote that agreement.  

The language in PC 182 states that “If two or more persons conspire…to commit any crime…they shall be punishable in the same manner and to the same extent as is provided for the punishment of that felony.”

Legal Defenses to 182 PC Criminal Conspiracy Charges

A legal defense can be used to combat a conspiracy charge. 

Among the most prevalent defenses are:

  • There is no agreement,
  • if there is no overt act, and/or
  • The defendant dropped out of the conspiracy.

Penalties on Conviction on 182 PC Criminal Conspiracy Charges

Conspiracies are sometimes prosecuted as felonies. 

Other offenses are wobblers, which means they can be charged as either:

  • committing misdemeanors, or
  • Felonies are offenses that are punishable by law.

The particular punishments for this crime are frequently determined by the sanctions imposed for the underlying offense.

In this article, the California criminal defense attorneys of Spodek Law Group will explain the following topics: 

  1. What exactly is a conspiracy?
  2. Are there any legal defenses?
  3. What are the consequences of conviction on 182 PC Criminal Conspiracy Charges?
  4. Are there any ramifications for immigrants?
  5. Is it possible to get a conviction expunged?
  6. What effect does a conviction have on a person’s right to bear arms?
  7. Relation with other offenses

1. What exactly is a conspiracy?

Penal Code 182 PC is the California statute that makes it illegal for a person to commit conspiracy.

A prosecutor must prove the following in order to convict a person of this offense:

  • the defendant agreed to commit a crime with another person or persons,
  • one of the agreement’s parties took an “overt act” to advance or further the agreement, and
  • At least one of the overt acts took place in the state of California.

It is important to note that someone is not guilty of conspiracy if:

  • he just follows or associates with participants of a conspiracy, and
  • Has no intention of committing an infraction.

It’s also worth noting that a member of a conspiracy doesn’t have to know the identities or roles of all the other participants. The question is whether the defendant agreed to commit a crime.

The interpretation of the following terms is frequently questioned under this statute:

  • agreement, as well as
  • an overt act

The Agreement

It is not necessary for the parties to reach a comprehensive or formal agreement under this law.

Furthermore, if there was a shared goal to commit a crime, an agreement may be inferred from the defendant’s actions.

For example: Bernie and George are spotted sneaking towards a house late at night. 

Bernie is holding a duffle bag and they are both dressed in black. 

 George hurls a small rock at the front door of the house to test if any lights turn on.

In this case, both individuals’ actions would be sufficient to charge them with burglary conspiracy. 

This is true even if there was no explicit written or spoken agreement between Bernie and George to commit.

The Overt act

An “overt act” is an action taken to aid in the completion or advancement of the agreed-upon crime. 

This act must be carried out:

  • once the agreement to commit the crime has been reached (but before the crime has been carried out), and
  • Furthermore, the agreement or plan to perform the crime.

It is not necessary for the overt act to be a criminal act in and of itself. 

It could be as easy as:

  • purchasing a weapon,
  • renting a room or car, or
  • giving a signal to a co-conspirator.

2. Are there any legal defenses?

To refute a conspiracy charge, a person can establish a legal defense.

The following are three frequent 182 PC defenses:

  1. There has been no agreement,
  2. There has been no overt act, and/or
  3. There has been a withdrawal 

There has been no agreement

Unless there is an agreement to conduct an offense, a person is not guilty of conspiracy. 

This means that proving there was no agreement is always a defense for the accused.

There has been no overt act

Remember that there must be an overt act by one of the conspirators for there to be an infraction. 

It’s not enough to have a plan to commit a crime. 

As a result, a defendant’s argument is to establish that no one involved in the scheme did anything to further it.

There has been a withdrawal

Even though a person conspires to commit a crime, if he withdraws from the conspiracy, he is not guilty. 

However, before someone commits an overt act, the person must signal the withdrawal.

For example: Marjorie and Prince agree to rob a car. 

Neither of them takes any steps to make this plan a reality

Marjorie later speaks with Prince and informs him that she no longer wants to be a part of the transaction.

Marjorie is not guilty of conspiracy in this case. 

However, she would be culpable if Prince bought the rubber gloves for the theft before she spoke with him.

3. What are the consequences of conviction on 182 PC Criminal Conspiracy Charges? 

A person who violates 182 PC in order to conduct a felony will be punished according to the severity of the underlying offence. 

If the accused is convicted of conspiracy to commit rape, for example, he might face up to eight years in jail, which is the maximum sentence for rape.

If convicted of plotting to conduct multiple felonies, the defendant will incur punishment for the most serious of the crimes.

Conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor is considered a wobbler.

It can therefore be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, you will face the following penalties:

  • a period of incarceration, 
  • as well as hefty fines

4. Are there any ramifications for immigrants?

A conviction for conspiracy law could have a negative impact on your immigration status.

According to the US immigration law, certain types of criminal convictions can result in: 

  • Deportation of a non-citizen, and 
  • a non-citizen who is deemed “inadmissible.”

Groups of “deportable” or “inadmissible” crimes include “crimes of moral turpitude” as well as “aggravated felonies.”

As a result, if a person conspires to conduct one of these offenses, he may suffer unfavorable immigration repercussions.

5. Is it possible to get a conviction expunged?

A person convicted of this crime is eligible for expungement if he meets the following criteria: 

  1. Effectively completes probation, or
  2. completes a jail sentence (whichever is relevant).

Even if a party violates a probation term, there is the possibility of having the offense expunged. However, this would be a matter of the judge’s discretion.

Under PenalCode1203.4, an expungement relieves an individual from almost “all penalties and disabilities” resulting from a conviction.

6. What effect does a conviction have on a person’s right to bear arms?

A conviction under this provision could jeopardize the defendant’s weapons rights.

Convicted felons are forbidden from obtaining or having a firearm in California, according to state law.

This means that an accused loses his right to own and possess a gun if he commits one of the following crimes:

  • he is either guilty of conspiracy to commit a felony, or
  • he is guilty of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor that was charged as a felony.

7. Relation to other Offenses

There are four statutes which all relate to 182 PC Criminal Conspiracy. These include:

  • gang sentencing enhancement law –California PC 186.22
  • aiding and abetting – California PC 31,
  • accessory after the fact – California PC 32, and
  • attempt to commit an offense– California PC 664.

For more information and to learn your options:

We invite you to contact Spodek Law Group for more information or to speak with a criminal defense attorney about your case.

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