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When is someone an accessory after the fact?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Criminal activity is not always accomplished alone. An accomplice can be part of a crime at any stage, including after the crime is over.

Accessory after the fact charges are relatively simple but can quickly become complicated depending on the situation and the relationship between the person who committed the crime and the alleged accomplice.

Here’s what prosecutors need to demonstrate someone is an accessory after the fact.

Knowledge of the crime

In some cases, an accessory after the fact is someone who is a friend or family member of the accused. However, there is no requirement that an accessory after the fact knows the person who committed the original crime.

For this element of the crime, the accessory after the fact merely needs to know that the person committed a felony or was charged or convicted of a felony. This means that someone can be an accessory after the fact without knowing the person’s name or anything about them.

Assistance after the commission of the crime

Knowing that someone commits a crime is not enough for an accessory after the fact charge. After a crime happens, someone could assist with actions such as:

  • Destroying evidence
  • Hiding the criminal
  • Lying to police

To successfully convict someone with an accessory after the fact charge, prosecutors need to prove both elements.

What happens next?

Depending on the level of the crime committed and whether it is a state or federal offense, there could be severe consequences if charges turn into a conviction.

Dealing with criminal charges can impact your life and your career for years. It is essential to speak with an experienced professional who can help you understand the charges against you and how you should move forward.