Under California Penal Code Section 182 conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime and an action taken by one or more parties of a conspiracy in furtherance of the criminal objectives of the conspiracy.
Prosecutor must prove the following elements for convicting defendant in conspiracy:
- Defendant deliberately entered into an agreement with another person or persons for committing a crime
- Defendant committed an overt act in furtherance of the agreement
- The overt act was committed in California
The Overt Act in California Conspiracy Charges
The overt act is an act that is completed in order to help the group to accomplish the agreed upon crime. The act should be performed after the defendant entered into the agreement and before the crime is completed.
The overt act is something more than the act of planning or agreeing to commit a crime, but it is not a crime itself. The overt act can be something as trivial as renting a car, writing a letter or making a phone call.
Criminal Liability under Penal Code Section 182
Criminal Liability under Penal Code Section 182 are as follows
- Conspiracy and the target crime of the conspiracy are two different charges. Defendant can be convicted of a conspiracy even if the crime was not committed.
- Defendant is liable for all the crimes he has planned to commit, with no importance which member commits the crime.
- For being convicted defendant doesn’t have to personally know the roles or identity of all other members of conspiracy.
- Defendant is not liable for the acts of other members of conspiracy that are performed after reaching the goal of the conspiracy
- Defendant is not liable for the acts of another person who is not a member of the conspiracy even if his acts helped to reach the goal of the conspiracy.
Penalties for violating California Penal Code Section 182
Under California Penal Code Section 182 there are four types of penalties for different types of conspiracies.
Conspiracy against a government official
In case the defendant is guilty of conspiring to commit a crime against a governmental official he will face a felony conviction, punishable le by five, seven or nine years imprisonment in a jail.
Conspiracy to commit fraud
In case the defendant is guilty of conspiring to defraud or cheat another person out of property or money he will face a wobbler, with either a misdemeanor or a felony conviction, depending on the case facts and his criminal history.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Conspiracy Conviction
Penalties for Misdemeanor Conspiracy Conviction include the following
- Up to one year in a county jail
- Fine up to $10,000
Penalties for Felony Conspiracy Conviction
Penalties for Felony Conspiracy Conviction include the following
- Sixteen months, two or three years in county jail
- Fine up to $10,000
Conspiracy to Commit More Than One Felony
In case the defendant is convicted of committing two or more felonies which have different punishments and the commission of those felonies constitute but one crime of conspiracy, the punishment must be that prescribed for the felony which has the severe sentence.
All Other Acts of Conspiracy
In case the defendant is guilty of any other acts of conspiracy, he will face a wobbler conviction, punishable in the above described manner. The only exception is a conspiracy to commit identity theft where the fine may be imposed to $25,000.