When most people hear conspiracy, they think of some kind of crackpot theory you might read online. But California conspiracy law actually covers situations where two or more people work together to plan or commit a felony crime. These accusations are drastically different than most criminal charges as the person accused need not actually commit any actual crimes other than planning illegal activities with someone else. In fact, the crime itself doesn’t even need to have occurred.
Conspiracy to Commit a Crime in California
Under California law, a conspiracy occurs when two or more people plan and work together to commit a felony and take some kind of action toward the completion of the crime. There is no requirement for the crime itself to have actually been completed in order for the people involved to be charged, as long as those involved took some action towards actually doing the crime.
For example, if a group of friends develops a plan to kidnap someone and they start to acquire weapons and other items vital to their plot, they have conspired to commit a kidnapping even if they are caught or abandon the plan long before the kidnapping was actually to occur. Alternatively, if the kidnapping did happen, but one person never took any part in the actual abduction, he or she could still be charged for his part in helping to create the plan. You can also be charged with conspiracy if you plan to falsely accuse or frame someone for a crime.
Penalties for Planning a Crime Together
Under California law, anyone convicted of this charge is subject to the same penalties as the crime they conspired to perform. It’s also worth keeping in mind that if the crime is completed, you can be charged with both conspiracy and whatever actual crimes you took part in. You could also face aiding and abetting charges if you helped someone commit their part of the crime, even if you were not directly involved. This means you will face the same charges as someone who did the crime itself. If you helped someone avoid the police after the crime took place, you could also be charged with being an accessory after the fact, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
The rules of evidence are also looser in conspiracy cases, allowing the prosecutor to use evidence against you that he or she might not be able to have admitted in a case involving a regular criminal charge. That being said, it is critical the prosecution can prove that you were involved with the conspiracy and that someone actually took some action to make the plan a reality. This is why you should always take this crime seriously and immediately call your defense lawyer.
If you have been charged with this serious crime, please call a skilled Vista conspiracy attorney like Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible to discuss your case.
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