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California Inchoate Crimes Lawyer

To Lessen The Impact Of Your Inchoate Offense, Hire An Inchoate Crimes Lawyer With A Solid Track Record

If you have been accused of an inchoate crime, such as conspiracy, solicitation, attempt, or accessory to a crime, then you will want to immediately get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer at My Rights Law – a California law firm with a track record of success in handling cases similar to yours. We will carefully review your situation and work hard to defend you. Protect your rights by calling My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 or leave a message on our secure contact form for your free consultation.

The term “inchoate crimes” refers to criminal activities that are – in essence – incomplete. When someone is convicted of an inchoate crime, they have been found guilty of furthering criminal activity, taking active steps toward committing a crime, or assisting someone who wants to, is, or has engaged in criminal activity. In general, you must both have had intent to commit the crime and taken some significant steps in furtherance of that intent to be convicted of an inchoate crime.

With one notable exception – conspiracy – someone who has been accused of an inchoate crime and a target offense can only be prosecuted for one offense or the other. For example, if you attempt to steal something and you are successful, you can’t be convicted of both crimes; attempted theft, burglary, or robbery, as well as the target crime of theft, burglary, or robbery itself. Only in the case of conspiracy can someone be both convicted of the steps taken in furtherance of a crime and the completed crime itself.

Attempt – California Penal Code 664

Simply because the elements of a crime are not totally fulfilled doesn’t mean that the steps taken to commit the underlying crime itself aren’t punishable under the law. When someone either tries to commit an actual crime and fails, or they are prevented from completing their criminal actions for some reason, they may be charged and convicted of criminal attempt[1].

An attempt crime may be classified as a misdemeanor, a felony (e.g., attempted murder), or a wobbler, depending on the circumstances and nature of the offense. Punishments can range from fines, community service, and probation to incarceration in state prison.

Conspiracy – California Penal Code 182

Conspiracy is the only inchoate crime for which someone can be convicted of both the steps taken to advance the attempt and any successful criminal action constituting the offense itself. Conspiracy must generally consist of an agreement to commit a crime and significant steps taken toward the commission of that crime. So, for example, someone convicted of conspiracy to commit murder can also be convicted of a successful murder and dealt the maximum sentence under California criminal law.

The crime of conspiracy itself requires the participation of at least two people[2]. A conviction for conspiracy – not the offense of which the parties conspired – is generally punishable by a term of incarceration of no more than one year and a fine that cannot exceed either $10,000 or $25,000, depending on the circumstances.

Solicitation To Commit A Crime – California Penal Code 653(f)

Unlike attempt and conspiracy, in which the person who is accused of criminal wrongdoing has personally engaged in steps taken toward the commission of a criminal act, solicitation involves trying to get someone else to commit a crime. Asking, commanding, urging, threatening, encouraging, recruiting, or otherwise promoting criminal activity can lead to a conviction for the offense of solicitation to commit a crime[3].

How this crime is prosecuted primarily depends upon the kind of crime being solicited. Most offenses charged as a solicitation to commit a crime are punishable by no more than one year in county jail and a fine not exceeding $10,000. However, solicitation for murder – for example – is treated as a felony and can be punishable by up to nine years in prison. Solicitation for the crime of rape is punishable by up to four years in state prison. This criminal offense is, therefore, highly variable based on the context of the underlying crime that has allegedly been solicited.

Aiding And Abetting – California Penal Code 31

Aiding or abetting someone else who is committing a crime is itself a criminal act[4]. This is true whether the crime in question is classified as a felony, a misdemeanor, or a “wobbler.” One doesn’t have to be present during the commission of a crime or its attempt to be convicted of aiding and abetting criminal activity. Essentially, a jury is empowered to convict a defendant of this inchoate crime if the prosecution is successful in proving – without a reasonable doubt – that the defendant advised and encouraged the commission of the crime in question. This advisement and encouragement could be positive in nature, like an offer to pay someone money or something of value to commit the crime, or it could take the forms of coercion, threats, or commands.

Anyone who is convicted of aiding and abetting a crime can be sentenced as a principal of that crime. If you have been accused of aiding and abetting a robbery, if convicted, you could be sentenced as if you carried out the act of robbery yourself.

In addition to the standard defensive strategies of arguing that you were wrongfully accused or that some element of the crime wasn’t met, there are a few novel defensive strategies that may come into play in aiding and abetting cases. Depending on your circumstances, it could be argued that while you initially took part in encouraging criminal activity in some way, you actively withdrew your participation before the crime was committed. Alternatively, it could be argued that you only aided those who committed a felony after it was completed, so you shouldn’t be charged under California Penal Code 31 but should be charged under California Penal Code 32 instead, as an accessory after the fact.

Accessory After The Fact – California Penal Code 32

When aiding and abetting criminal activity occurs after a crime has already been committed, this shift in the timeline of the situation leads to the creation of a distinct criminal offense. Those who aid and abet the principal of a felony in specific ways after the felony itself has been completed may be charged and convicted of acting as an “accessory after the fact.”[5]

This crime occurs when someone aids, conceals, or harbors another who has committed a felony with the intention of helping that individual avoid arrest, conviction, or punishment for their crime. To be convicted of an accessory after the fact offense, a defendant must have had knowledge that the person they were aiding committed the felony in question, was an accessory to a felony, or has been charged or convicted of a felonious crime.

Unlike a conviction for aiding and abetting – which renders a defendant punishable as a principal for the crime in question – accessory after the fact convictions are punishable by a fee of no more than $5,000 and a term of incarceration that usually cannot exceed one year in county jail.

Call My Rights Law – Experienced Inchoate Crimes Attorneys Today

The defense attorney you choose can make the difference between having criminal charges dismissed or being severely punished. My Rights Law’s strong team of criminal lawyers have the resources and experience that enable us to pursue difficult cases yielding favorable results. We protect our clients through our expertise in the law and extensive experience in handling all misdemeanor and felony criminal cases including, but not limited to, alcohol-related crimes, drug crimes, violent crimes, domestic violence, sex crimes, crimes against children, theft crimes, juvenile crime, gun charges, property crimes, cybercrimes, traffic violations, public safety crimes, federal crimes, financial crimes, crimes against the government, crimes against justice, and inchoate crimes. We also specialize in restraining orders, pretrial diversion programs, and expungements.

Our criminal defense lawyers know that communication, strategy, preparation, and planning are the hallmarks of a strong defense in every one of our criminal cases. Get in touch with us for a free legal consultation with one of our top-rated criminal defense attorneys. Call (888) 702-8882 or leave us a message on our secure contact form.

FOOTNOTES
[1] California Penal Code 664
[2] California Penal Code 182
[3] California Penal Code 653(f)
[4] California Penal Code 31
[5] California Penal Code 32

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