Even if you’re not the one committing a crime, you can still be charged with a criminal offense. You may be an accessory to a crime before or after the fact by helping someone plan or get away with a crime, and the charges could be severe. 

What is an Accessory to a Crime? accessory to a crime

Being an accessory to a crime means intentionally, knowingly, and voluntarily participating in a crime. You do not need to be present during the crime to be considered an accessory. 

Accessory vs. Accomplice 

An accessory to a crime helps someone before or after a crime, while an accomplice participates in carrying out the crime. 

Accessory Before the Fact 

As an accessory before the fact, you may have aided someone in planning to carry out a crime. Even if the crime does not occur, you can still face charges for aiding and abetting an intended crime. 

Examples include helping someone map out a robbery, planning a getaway, or providing a gun or car to be used for a crime. 

Accessory After the Fact 

To be an accessory after the fact, you help someone get away with a crime after knowing a crime has been committed. This may include providing aid, shelter, or financial assistance…essentially, it means you help “get rid of the body” (literally or figuratively). If you drive the getaway car, give a criminal money or first aid, allow a criminal to stay at your home, provide an escape, help clean up the crime scene, or get rid of evidence, you could be considered an accessory. 

Defense Against Accessory Charges 

If you are charged as an accessory to a crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: 

1. You knew a crime was about to be committed or was committed 

2. You intentionally helped someone commit a crime or get away with a crime 

They may use text messages or phone calls, witness testimony, DNA evidence, etc., as evidence against you in a case to prove that you knowingly and willingly acted as an accessory to a crime. 

Therefore, your defense may attempt to prove that you did not know about the crime or did not intend to help the suspect carry out the crime. Another defense could depend upon whether you were acting under duress; if the suspect threatened to harm you or a loved one, your defense may be able to prove a lack of intent.

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati, OH?

If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.

Tad Brittingham
Connect with me
Criminal defense attorney Tad Brittingham is dedicated to serving his clients throughout the Cincinnati area