Sometimes we get caught up in the moment, or are with the wrong people at the wrong time. If you are charged with being an accessory to a crime, you need to contact an attorney immediately to help defend against this charge.
Being an accessory to a crime can be defined as:
In Criminal Law, contributing to or aiding in the commission of a crime. One who, without being present at the commission of an offense, becomes guilty of such offense, not as a chief actor, but as a participant, as by command, advice, instigation, or concealment; either before or after the fact or commission.
Let’s take a closer look at this definition. It says that a person isn’t the one committing the crime, but contributing to or aiding in the crime. It also states that a person who is an accessory to a crime does not have to be present at the time of the offense. The accessory person can give the command, help plan, instigate (encourage) the crime, and even cover it up.
Accessory after the fact is someone who knows that a crime has occurred and helped conceal it. It is also referred to as obstructing justice.
One very important fact to understand is that the person being accused of being an accessory to a crime must knowingly contribute to the crime, not accidently. The prosecutor must prove that the person knew about the crime and intentionally helped commit or conceal it.
A new 2014 Florida statute (777.03) states that a person who commits an offense against the state, even as an accessory, may be charged as if they are a principle in the first degree and will be sentenced as such, even if they were not present at the time of the crime.
If the crime committed is a capital felony offense, then a person found guilty of accessory after the fact will also be charged with a 1st degree felony – punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.00. If the crime committed is a 2nd or 3rd degree felony, the person found guilty of accessory after the fact can be charged with a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.00.
Being an accessory to a crime is a serious offense. A person can back out of being an accessory of a crime by denouncing the plans, refusing to assist with the crime, contacting the police or trying to stop the crime from happening.
If you find yourself being charged as an accessory to a crime, please call one of our offices immediately. The Office of Travis Koon consists of top notch Florida criminal defense attorneys. We have offices in Miami, Gainesville, and Lake City– several locations to help you. Call us today!