Facing criminal charges for the first time in your life may scare and confuse you. If they allege that you acted as an accomplice to a crime, you might wonder what this means. What is an accomplice, and what are the potential consequences for this charge? Here is some information to help you understand more about what it means to be charged with a crime of this nature.
The Basic Definition of an Accomplice
The basic definition of an accomplice is a person who assists or helps someone else commit a crime. Therefore, an accomplice is not necessarily the person who committed the crime. Instead, it is the person who helped another execute the crime. Anyone who contributes in any way could end up facing charges as an accomplice.
The Ways You Can Be an Accomplice
There are numerous things you could do that would cause the court to consider you an accomplice to a crime. The following are just a few examples:
- Being present during a crime – if you are even at the scene of a crime when it takes place, it could result in this charge
- Advising someone about a crime – offering advice of any kind to a person who commits a crime also constitutes being an accomplice
- Encouraging a person to execute a crime – if you offer encouragement, you could be at risk of getting criminal charges
- Hiding evidence – keeping essential details or evidence from the police to cover up a crime that you did not commit also makes you an accomplice
A good example of an accomplice is a person who drives someone to a scene to commit a crime; the driver did not commit the crime but aided in the criminal event.
The Punishments and Consequences for These Charges
The punishments and consequences for these charges vary, and they often depend on what the charge is. The most severe accomplice charge is called principle in the second degree. Charges that are slightly less serious include accessory before the fact and accessory after the fact.
The punishment you face for these charges will depend on what the crime was. An accomplice charge for assisting with a burglary is less serious than a charge resulting in a murder.
If you are not sure what to do about the charges you are facing, call a law firm. A criminal defense lawyer can offer advice to you about your situation and help you devise a defense strategy. Reach out to a criminal attorney in your area for more information.