Conspiracy charges are serious crimes that can lead to jailtime. Learn more on how they might affect your situation and case.
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Los Angeles Conspiracy Attorneys
Persons charged with committing conspiracy in Los Angeles may face very serious charges, even if they did not take part in the underlying crime. Or an acquaintance may accuse you or a loved one of being part of a conspiracy.
The accuser may do that because they are facing conspiracy charges and is trying to cut a deal with the prosecutor. In either scenario, experienced Los Angeles conspiracy attorneys can dig into the facts of the particular case and create your defense. They will also protect your rights.
What is a Criminal Conspiracy in Los Angeles?
California Penal Code §182 PC defines the crime of conspiracy. According to that statute, conspiracy occurs when a person agrees with one or more people to commit a crime. In addition, one person of that group then takes an overt act in furtherance of the agreement.
There are several elements to the crime of conspiracy that experienced Los Angeles conspiracy attorneys know the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt-but could pose stumbling blocks to a successful prosecution:
The person charged with conspiracy agreed to commit a crime with one or more other people
The “agreement” to commit a crime need not be formal or memorialized. As long as the prosecutor can show that the defendant had an understanding with one or more people to commit a crime, a conspiracy exists.
One conspirator must take an overt act to support the conspiracy Once they make an agreement, one conspirator must take that overt act that is part of the criminal plot. The overt act itself need not be a crime; renting a car to be used in a kidnapping or visiting a jewelry store before burgling the store can be overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The person who rented the car or scouted out the jewelry store need not take part in the kidnapping or burglary; that person just has to have made the overt act, intending to further the conspiracy. And that person can be charged with being part of the conspiracy.
The agreement, coupled with the overt act, becomes the crime of conspiracy. Indeed, the underlying crime does not have even have to happen for the police to charge the conspirators with conspiracy.
What Are the Penalties if a Person Gets Convicted of Conspiracy?
If the underlying crime the conspirators are planning is a felony, conviction of conspiring to commit that felony carries with it the same penalties as the underlying crime. Therefore, if the jury convicts a person of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder (Penal Code §187 PC), the penalty is 25 years to life in state prison.
If the defendant was involved with a conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, the crime becomes a “wobbler.” A wobbler in California is a crime that the prosecutor charges as a felony or a misdemeanor at their discretion.
Whether they will charge a felony or misdemeanor will depend on the seriousness of the underlying crime and the extent of the defendant’s participation in the conspiracy. Additionally, they will review the defendant’s criminal history, if any.
A conviction of conspiracy can be expunged once the defendant has completed their jail term and/or term of probation.
Conviction of conspiracy can have a [negative impact on a person’s immigration status]. A conspiracy conviction could result in deportation or a person being declared “inadmissible.”
What Defenses Are Available to a Person Charged with Conspiracy?
There are several defenses experienced Los Angeles conspiracy attorneys can raise defending against conspiracy charges:
The defendant did not agree to commit the underlying crime. A person could walk into a grocery store with a friend. Then the friend pulls out a gun to rob the store owner. The first person did not know the friend intended to rob the store. The police cannot charge the first person with conspiracy to rob the store simply because they were with the armed thief. You cannot be guilty of conspiracy simply for accompanying or associating with conspirators.
The defendant withdrew from the conspiracy. If the defendant initially agreed to be part of the conspiracy, but later withdrew, they did not commit the crime of conspiracy. However, in order to successfully use this defense, the defendant had to withdraw after the conspirators made an agreement to commit the crime, but before one conspirator made the overt act to support the conspiracy. Additionally, the defendant must affirmatively declare that he was withdrawing from the conspiracy.
The defendant was falsely accused of being a conspirator. As noted at the outset, an actual conspirator can falsely accuse you of being part of the conspiracy. The accuser may do this to get charges reduced or minimize his own involvement in the plot. As stated above, merely being acquainted with a conspirator does not make you one.
There was no overt act. Even if the band of conspirators agreed to commit a crime, unless one of them took that overt act, there is no crime.
Los Angeles Conspiracy Lawyers
Persons facing charges of conspiracy charges may get sentenced to years in state prison if convicted. They need knowledgeable Los Angeles conspiracy attorneys to investigate the charges, poke holes in the prosecutor’s case and protect their constitutional rights.
Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen are experienced Los Angeles criminal lawyers at Perlman & Cohen. They have represented numerous persons in Los Angeles courtrooms facing conspiracy and other felony charges. Perlman & Cohen will stand by anyone facing conspiracy charges.
We will negotiate a plea to lesser charges if appropriate. Otherwise, we will prepare the case for trial and make prosecutors prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Call us at (310) 299-0062 to set up a free consultation.