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Criminal Conspiracy Allegations in California


The reason I refer to criminal conspiracy as an allegation is because it’s not really a charge.  There’s no such crime as conspiracy in general.  It’s usually conspiracy to do something.  So, conspiracy is more like a theory in order to prove a crime.  It could be conspiracy to sell drugs.  And when you’re talking about conspiracy, you’re talking about two or more people who are getting together to commit a particular crime, so a lot of times the prosecutors don’t have all of the elements or all of the information to get somebody for a particular car.

For example, if it’s a drug conspiracy, maybe they want to charge a person with sales of drugs but they don’t have the person doing every piece of what is being done.  So, what they end up doing is they charge this conspiracy charge where they’re basically saying, that this person is moving the drugs, this person is getting the drugs, this person is collecting the money for the drugs, so we’re going to charge each one of them with a conspiracy because they’re all operating together.  This theory of criminal liability or criminal culpability is a way to capture multiple people and also a way to capture somebody that doesn’t do every part of the crime.  But if we all get together and we make an agreement to do a certain thing and that certain thing is a crime, then we can be charged with conspiracy to do that crime.

Proving an Agreement was Made

Part of the problem is trying to prove that agreement.  In other words, how do you show that people agree to do something if you weren’t there when the meeting was had and when the agreement was made.  You’re going to do that by the actions of each party.  You’re going to do that with cooperators who will cooperate and say, we all got together.  We talked about this, and that’s one way for them to prove a conspiracy against somebody.

So, there’s a number of different angles they can take to prove this conspiracy theory in Los Angeles.  But typically, what I’m seeing in these conspiracy cases — whether they’re at the California state or federal level — there’s a more serious case because the prosecutors and police believe when a group of people get together to commit a crime, that group is much more dangerous than somebody operating alone.  In other words, they can accomplish much more.  They can take much more money if that’s what they’re doing.  They can sell more drugs at a higher level.  So, there’s a number of different things that a conspiracy can “net” so-to-speak, that someone operating by themselves cannot.

Conspiracy cases are usually much more serious than just a regular crime.  But the reality is, it’s a conspiracy to do something — conspiracy to sell drugs, conspiracy to rob a bank — there’s a number of different scenarios that can play themselves out when a group of people get together to commit a particular crime.

One thing that can happen related to a conspiracy is that somebody that’s in the conspiracy can do something outside the conspiracy and it’s not fair that other people get blamed for that.  In other words, everybody has got to agree to a certain thing and then it’s foreseeable that certain things can happen.  Like, let’s say, three people get together to do a robbery at a 7-11.  One guy waits outside in the car and then two other people go in with guns and one of the employees pulls out a gun and ends up accidentally shooting a customer.  So, somebody is killed.  So, now can the person waiting in the car be charged with that murder?  And the answer is yes because it’s foreseeable when you agree to get involved with a conspiracy to go rob a convenience store and you know people are going in with guns, it’s foreseeable that somebody could get shot and killed so you’re going to be held responsible for that.

If on the other hand, when they go in the store one of the people with a gun sees somebody they don’t like and that owes them money and ends up shooting that person, you certainly couldn’t be held responsible for that because that’s not foreseeable that something like that would happen.

So, if you or a loved one is charged in a conspiracy-related offense, pick up the phone and call a California criminal defense lawyer at our law firm.  Make the call.  Let’s sit down and talk about it and see if the government really has the goods on you or not, what type of a defense strategy you should employ and how you’re going to protect your rights, your reputation and your freedom.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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