Are you facing criminal charges for your role in a criminal conspiracy in San Diego? If so, it is important to contact an experienced San Diego criminal conspiracy attorney as soon as possible. Conspiracy is a serious offense and a conviction will be devastating to your future.
You can increase the chances of achieving a positive result in your conspiracy case by hiring the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC. We have nearly two decades of experience handling all criminal matters, including complex conspiracy cases. We know that your future is on the line and will fight to minimize the consequences of the charges you face. Our skilled San Diego criminal conspiracy attorney will get to work on your defense the moment you hire us, so do not hesitate to call us today.
Conspiracy Charges in San Diego
Conspiracy can be a difficult crime to understand because it is, by its very nature, extremely vague. The law was written in a way that allows the state to criminalize a broad variety of behaviors. To put it simply, you can face charges for conspiracy when you agree with another person to commit a crime and some step is taken to advance this criminal plan.
Penal Code 182 PC
To convict you on charges of criminal conspiracy, as defined in California Penal Code Section 182 PC, the prosecution must be able to prove:
- You agreed with at least one other person to commit a crime;
- At the time of this agreement, you intended that the crime would be committed; and
- You or one of your co-conspirators committed an overt act in furtherance of that crime.
As you can see, the prosecution does not have to prove that a crime was committed. Instead, they must only prove that an overt action was taken in furtherance of that crime. What is an overt act? In San Diego, an overt act is defined as anything – illegal or legal – that is done “to help accomplish the agreed-upon crime.” Any step – beyond simple agreement – that is taken in California to help complete the intended crime can be considered an overt act. Overt acts taken outside of the state of California will not satisfy this element of the offense. Additionally, this overt act must take place after you agree to participate in the criminal behavior.
It is important to note that you do not have to be the person who commits this overt act. You can face charges for conspiracy in San Diego as long as you or one of your co-conspirators commits an overt act.
Penalties for Conspiracy in San Diego
Conspiracy can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense in San Diego. In most cases, the severity of the charges you face will be linked to the specific crime(s) you conspired to commit. You will be criminally liable for any crime committed in furtherance of your conspiracy by you or one of your co-conspirators.
Conspiracy to Commit a Misdemeanor
Conspiracy is a wobbler in San Diego. This means that you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Most times, a conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor offense will be charged as a misdemeanor. However, the state has the discretion to charge you with felony conspiracy if your conduct was harmful, violent, or dangerous. The specific conspiracy charge you face will depend on the facts and circumstances of your specific case.
Conspiracy to Commit a Felony
If you conspire to commit a felony offense you will face felony conspiracy charges. The criminal penalties that you will face will be tied to your target crime. For example, if you conspire to commit an armed robbery, you will face the criminal penalties that can be imposed for the crime of armed robbery. Again, you can face these criminal penalties even if the underlying crime is never committed.
Conspiracy to Commit Multiple Crimes
Some criminal conspiracies involve more than one underlying crime. If you are facing charges on multiple counts of conspiracy, your penalty will be tied to the most serious crime you are accused of conspiring to commit.
Defenses to Conspiracy in San Diego
Just because you are accused of conspiring to commit a crime in San Diego does not mean that you will be convicted. Conspiracy cases are complicated, and the prosecution must be able to prove each element of the offense to get a conviction. You can make the prosecution’s job even more difficult by asserting legal arguments in your defense. These defenses are intended to excuse, explain, or justify your alleged behavior. When properly argued, these defenses can limit the prosecution’s ability to satisfy their burden of proof.
Defenses that may be argued in a San Diego conspiracy case include:
- There was never an agreement to commit a crime;
- You never intended or expected that a crime would be committed;
- No co-conspirator took an overt act in furtherance of the crime;
- No co-conspirator took an overt act in California in furtherance of the crime;
- You have been falsely accused;
- You are married to your alleged co-conspirator; and/or
- You withdrew from the conspiracy.
Many crimes in San Diego are very similar to the crime of conspiracy. These crimes are related to, but distinct from, conspiracy. This means that you could potentially be charged with these crimes in addition to the crime of conspiracy.
- Gang-Related Activity. It is a crime to actively participate in a criminal street gang. This involves promoting, furthering, or assisting criminal conduct by members of a gang.
- Aiding and Abetting. It is a crime to facilitate, encourage, promote, or instigate criminal behavior.
- Accessory After the Fact. It is crime to harbor, conceal, or help someone that you know has committed a crime in order to prevent their arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment.
San Diego Criminal Conspiracy Attorney
Your future will be changed forever if you are convicted on conspiracy charges in San Diego. Not only will you face time behind bars, but you will also be burdened with a criminal record for the rest of your life. A criminal record will make it tough for you and your family to live a normal life. You will find that it is difficult to do things you once took for granted, such as renting a home or securing a job. If your crime was particularly violent or dangerous, you could also potentially lose the right to own or possess a firearm. Having a criminal record can also affect your child custody and/or visitation rights. You can minimize the potential of these (and other) consequences by hiring an experienced San Diego conspiracy attorney to handle your case.
The attorneys at the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC have nearly two decades of experience handling all criminal matters, including complex conspiracy cases. We understand that your future is at stake and will fight aggressively to get a reduction or dismissal of the charges in your case. Contact our attorneys today to set up a free consultation. We will review your case, determine possible lines of defense, and explain your legal rights. The prosecution will begin to build a case against you immediately, so it is important to act quickly.