KNOWLEDGEABLE CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER FOR RESIDENTS OF ORANGE COUNTY
With more than 18 years of experience, criminal defense attorney Karren Kenney is committed to advising individuals throughout Orange County who may be facing a broad range of charges, including accusations of conspiracy. Ms. Kenney has earned a reputation as an aggressive advocate for her clients. She takes the time to understand each of their goals and needs while working to protect their rights inside and outside the courtroom.
CONSPIRACY CHARGES UNDER CALIFORNIA LAW
Conspiracy charges often accompany other criminal charges, including drug-related offenses, theft, and fraud. In the event that two or more people are allegedly involved in a crime, it is possible that the prosecution also will file conspiracy charges. The laws of California make it illegal for two or more individuals to conspire to commit any crime. This includes conspiring to defraud, to obtain money or property by false pretenses, or to obstruct justice. Conspiracy may be punishable regardless of whether the underlying offense was actually committed. For example, if multiple individuals conspire to commit a robbery, a conviction can be based upon the degree of robbery to which the defendants conspired, even if they did not carry out the crime. In cases where an offense does not rise to the level of a felony, a defendant may face jail time of up to one year, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
Conspiracy charges can be particularly serious when it comes to planning a crime against government officials or judges. In those instances, the punishment may be enhanced to a sentence ranging between five and nine years. A conviction for conspiracy to commit murder is also serious, since the designated punishment level will be set at first-degree murder.
In addition to state conspiracy charges, there are also federal laws that prohibit conspiracy. The general federal conspiracy law makes it illegal for any two individuals to conspire to commit a federal offense. Likewise, it is illegal to conspire to defraud any agency of the United States government. The maximum penalty for a federal conspiracy conviction is a sentence of five years, a fine of $250,000, or both. However, if the individuals conspire only to commit a misdemeanor, the penalty cannot exceed the maximum punishment ascribed to that particular offense.
In addition to the general conspiracy statute, there are also a number of specific federal laws regarding conspiracy. For instance, drug laws regarding possession, manufacturing, and distribution also prohibit a conspiracy to engage in these acts. Likewise, there are laws prohibiting and punishing conspiracy with regard to terroristic behavior, racketeering, and robbery.
REQUIREMENTS OF ESTABLISHING CONSPIRACY
While prosecutors commonly bring charges of conspiracy, there are a number of threshold requirements that must be met in order for them to stand. Most importantly, if the conspiracy is related to an offense that requires an overt act, the prosecution must allege and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that such an act in fact occurred. It is not necessary that a conspirator commit a crime, or even an element of a crime, in order to be found guilty of conspiracy. However, some explicit action must be taken in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Importantly, charges of conspiracy may be asserted even after a conviction for the underlying crime, since it is a completely separate and distinct offense that does not trigger double jeopardy rules. Another unique characteristic with conspiracy cases is that admissions or statements made by one co-conspirator can be used against any and all other conspirators. Because of her legal experience, Ms. Kenney has the ability to deal with the complexities involved in conspiracy charges. Often, it may be possible to reach a favorable plea bargain that enables a defendant to avoid a harsher punishment.
PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS WHEN FACING CHARGES IN ORANGE COUNTY
If you have been charged near Orange County with conspiracy or a related crime, felony defense lawyer Karren Kenney can explore the details of your situation and the strategies that you can use against the prosecution. We serve people throughout Southern California, including in Huntington Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles. Call (855) 505-5588 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.