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What to know about being charged as an accessory to a crime

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Facing any criminal charge can be scary and overwhelming. However, if you did not commit the crime, you may wonder how the police could arrest you. 

This happens commonly if it is discovered you were an “accessory.” Also called aiding and abetting, learn more about this and why you may face these charges here. 

What is aiding and abetting?

Someone can be charged with aiding and abetting if it is found that they knew about the crime before it happened and assisted with committing it by providing financial support, actions or advice. 

The charge may increase to conspiracy depending on a person’s involvement in the crime. Most charges of aiding and abetting are made when someone tries to help or protect the perpetrator after they commit a crime. 

Proving you are guilty of aiding and abetting

When you are charged with a crime, the jury or court is instructed to consider you innocent until the prosecution proves you guilty – this is a constitutional right. 

The prosecuting attorney must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a crime was committed and that you helped with it or worked to help facilitate it. It must also show you acted before the crime was committed. 

You may also be charged as an accessory after the fact. This charge applies to helping someone after they committed a crime. It may mean hiding them, giving them a car to use to get away or doing something else that hindered or prevented that person from being arrested. 

Protecting your rights when facing criminal charges

You have legal rights if you are charged with aiding and abetting, accessory or accessory after the fact. Learning these and building a strong defense for your case are important.