Understanding Criminal Conspiracy Charges in California
In California, criminal charges may be filed for a crime known as a criminal conspiracy. A conspiracy charge can have significant consequences, including incarceration. A person arrested for conspiracy may remain incarcerated while the case is pending, unless bail is paid. To post bail, you can contact a bail bonds company to make the necessary arrangements.
What is a conspiracy?
To determine what is conspiracy in California, you must look at Penal Code 182. Penal Code 182 sets forth the elements of conspiracy. The elements of conspiracy include:
- An agreement with one or more persons to commit a crime; and
- An act in furtherance of that agreement by one of the individuals to commit the crime
What are the potential penalties for criminal conspiracy?
If a person is charged with conspiracy, then they face the conspiracy sentence could be punished in the same way and to the same extent as the crime committed by the other person. For example, if you are charged with conspiracy for agreeing to assist someone in committing a burglary and that person does something to further the burglary, then you could be charged with the same penalties as a burglary case.
Because a conspiracy sentence depends upon the particular crime alleged, the penalties can vary in each case.
Are there any defenses to a conspiracy charge?
In order to prove conspiracy, the prosecution must be able to show all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that there must be evidence to show an intent to commit a crime or assist another in committing a crime. If the prosecution cannot prove conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, then you should be acquitted of the charge.
If your constitutional rights were violated in any way, then there may also be defenses available. Some examples of these types of defenses could include:
- Illegal searches or seizures
- Violation of your right to have an attorney
- Failure to advise you of your rights in a custodial interrogation
- Coerced statements
What happens if you are arrested for conspiracy?
If you are arrested for conspiracy, then you will be booked into jail. You will eventually make a court appearance where you are advised of your rights, the charges you are facing, and the potential penalties. You will have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Finally, the court will consider setting a bail amount.
In determining whether to set bail and the specific amount to be ordered, the court will consider several factors. This may include:
- The facts alleged in the case
- Your criminal history
- Your ties to the community (e.g., family, friends, jobs, community involvement, residential history, etc)
- Whether you are considered a flight risk
- Whether you have a history of failing to appear for court
The court will either deny bail, set a specific dollar amount that must be paid in order for you to be released, or waive payment of bail and release you on your own recognizance.
What should you do if charged with conspiracy?
If you are charged with conspiracy, then you should consider hiring an attorney or seeking a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford a lawyer. An attorney will provide you with legal advice and representation. They can make an argument for you to be released while the case is pending. A lawyer will carefully review your case to determine if there are any defenses available.
A lawyer will help you build a defense and gather the evidence needed to challenge the charges. They will help you understand your rights and ensure that those rights are protected. If you are charged with conspiracy in California, then it is important that you understand the potential penalties and what to expect.