Los Angeles Federal Conspiracy Defense Attorney
What is a Conspiracy?
When two or more people (1) agree to commit a crime; and (2) take steps toward carrying out that crime, everyone involved in the agreement may be charged with a separate crime called “conspiracy.” In California, a person can be charged with conspiracy at either the federal or state level. Conspiracy is nearly always charged as a felony.
You may be charged with conspiracy to commit any crime. At the federal level, there is a general conspiracy law, as well as specialized conspiracy laws that apply to specific crimes, such as:
- Conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
- Conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.
- Conspiracy to commit wire or mail fraud.
- Conspiracy to defraud the United States Government.
- Conspiracy to commit racketeering.
You should be aware that you can be charged with a federal conspiracy regardless of whether the crime itself was ever carried out. The only requirement is that at least one person took some “overt action” toward carrying out the crime. This overt action does not need to be criminal in itself, in fact, it is often something as harmless as making a phone call, renting a car, or ordering supplies. You could also be charged if the government believes you were part of the conspiracy, even if you took no action yourself.
Conspiracy charges are serious charges that can have a wide-ranging impact. If you are the target of a federal conspiracy investigation, it is critical to consult a Los Angeles federal conspiracy defense attorney to understand the charges you face and how to defend against them.
What are the Penalties for Conspiracy?
As a federal crime, the potential penalties for conspiracy are harsh. In general, violations of the general federal conspiracy statute are punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a substantial fine. Some of the specialized conspiracy statutes impose even stricter penalties. For example, the maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit racketeering is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If the conspiracy also involved murder, you could be facing a life sentence.
It is important to note that if the planned crime was carried out, you could be charged and sentenced for that crime in addition to conspiracy charges. This means that you could be facing a longer overall sentence, as your sentence for conspiracy and the crime itself would likely be served consecutively (one after the other).
You should also be aware that if you are convicted of conspiracy, you could also be convicted of the offenses committed by your co-conspirators, even if you were not involved in those crimes. This means that you could be on the hook and required to serve additional time for acts committed by others.
Defenses to Conspiracy
To convict you of conspiracy, the federal government needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You made an agreement with at least one other person to commit a crime; AND
- At least one person involved in the agreement took some step toward committing that crime.
If the prosecutor cannot prove each of these elements, you cannot be found guilty of conspiracy.
Effective defenses to conspiracy charges may include:
- There was no agreement to commit a crime.
- No action was taken to carry out the crime.
- You clearly withdrew from the conspiracy.
- You were not a party to the conspiracy.
- The evidence against you was illegally obtained through an unlawful search and seizure.
Do You Need a Los Angeles Federal Conspiracy Defense Attorney?
Federal conspiracy cases can be complex, especially if there are multiple people charged with the conspiracy or if you are charged with conspiracy to commit several crimes. The potential consequences are significant, including substantial fines and lengthy prison sentences. Having an experienced Los Angeles federal conspiracy defense attorney on your side can mean the difference between harsh consequences and obtaining a dismissal or favorable plea deal.
The Law Offices of Adrian M. Baca has the skills and tools necessary to help you build a strong defense in your federal conspiracy case. We can help you understand your rights and will aggressively advocate for your interests. Contact us today to discuss your case for free.