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Accomplice to a Crime: Criminal Intent—it Matters!

Drew Duncan
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan and Cole, LLP

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If a certain road with a notorious destination is paved with good intentions, the road to being held liable as an accomplice to a crime is paved with intent.

Intent is really the name of the game when it comes to your role as an accomplice to a crime. Did you know that your actions would help someone break a law or escape justice? Did you intend to assist them in committing a crime? If you were unaware that your actions would enable criminal activity, you will probably not be found guilty as an accomplice.

Being an accomplice or accessory to a crime is serious business, and if found guilty, you are considered just as guilty as the acting criminals. There are two primary ways to be involved in a crime:

  • Principal. Principals in the first degree include the people who commit the crime. Principals in the second degree, often known as aiders and abettors, include those who were at the crime scene in an inactive role, such as serving as the getaway driver.
  • Accessory. An accessory, either before or after the fact (crime), assists the principal and other accomplices in committing the crime, but is not present at the crime scene. If someone provided a murderer with a victim’s home address, or allowed a murderer to hide out in their home to escape police, they would be considered an accessory before the fact or an accessory after the fact, respectively.

Principals in the second degree, aiders and abettors, and accessories are all considered accomplices, and if it is proven that they intended to assist in a crime, they will face serious charges.

Of course, there are several instances where people were unknowingly accomplices to a crime, and therefore cannot be found liable for the crime that was committed. If you have been charged as an accomplice but were unaware of the intended crime and how your actions would affect it, you should not be held liable.

If you are facing accusations or charges of being an accomplice to a crime, protect your rights today by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. We can help you defend both your honor and your future. For a free consultation, contact us today by phone or by clicking on the live chat link now.


Category: Criminal Defense


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