There are not many crimes whose mere attempt brings with them a penalty equal to that of the attempted crime, but conspiracy breaks this mold. The State of California sets forth the rules regarding the conspiracy to commit crimes and the punishments allowable by law in California Penal Code 182. While individual counties are able to set their own bail amounts and choose between specific sentences to hand down for a crime, most agree with the state – that conspiracy to commit a crime should be treated as harshly as the crime itself. This makes it essential that a person charged with conspiracy find a good lawyer, because they will face the same penalty they would’ve had they actually committed the crime.
What is Conspiracy?
The main definition of conspiracy used in California courts is when two or more people conspire to break the law. The statute, however, does not stop there. It specifies certain crimes in an effort to distinguish between punishments. The statute specifically mentions committing crimes against any judicial or executive member of the state or federal government. It also mentions conspiring to commit injurious acts upon the public health, justice system, public morals and administration of law. All of these subsections have their own specific punishments that can be handed down by a court of law.
Conspiracy charges incur a wide range of bail amounts. Several counties, including Los Angeles, San Benito, and Monterey list a bail amount that the same required if the conspired crime was actually committed. Monterey County even goes further, to say that regardless of the conspired crime, bail cannot be set below ten thousand dollars. These bail schedules vary so much that, dependent on the conspired crime, a person may be able to get out on relatively low bail or may be remanded to jail until trial. Contacting your nearest Bail Hotline office can cut through the details, and hopefully allow your immediate release with only ten percent of the preset bail indicated.
Penalties and Consequences
Actual penalties for a conspiracy conviction also vary widely. Almost any conspired felony is punishable by the sentencing guidelines related to the actual commission of the felony. Conspiring to commit a crime against judicial or executive officers, however, will bring with it a conviction of at least five to nine years. Punishment for any conspired misdemeanor is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to ten thousand dollars. This holds true as long as the person wasn’t conspiring to commit identity fraud, in which case the fine will jump up to twenty-five thousand dollars.
Any type of conspiracy charge should not be taken lightly, as a conviction will bring with it a punishment as severe as the commission of the conspired crime. This means a person can receive life imprisonment for simply planning to commit certain crimes. The accused will want to secure their release as quickly as possible, to be able to return to their job and family, and to secure appropriate legal counsel to begin preparing their defense.