What does it mean to be an “accessory after the fact?” Is it a serious crime worth worrying about?
You don’t have to commit the actual crime… but you could be found guilty for helping the person who did. If you have been charged as an accessory after the fact, you could be facing jail time. Your days behind bars will depend on whether you are accused of a felony crime, which has a harsher punishment, or a misdemeanor.
3 Things to Know about an Accessory after the Fact Charge
Any time you or someone you know is accused of a crime, it is an unnerving experience. Everything is up in the air—from whether you will be incarcerated, to the fine you may have to pay. That is why it is so important that you familiarize yourself with the law and understand what to expect. Below is a short list of things you should know.
- An accessory after the fact accusation falls under California Penal Code Section 32. Under this law, you could be found guilty if you helped a criminal commit a felony, by aiding that person or helping him or her escape.
- The punishment for being an accessory after the fact is severe. If you are convicted, you could be looking at one year in jail. Now, if the prosecution charges you with a felony, the time behind bars could jump to three years. You could also be fined $5,000.
- There are defenses available against an accessory after the fact charge. You have to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. That means you have the right to a defense. When it comes to this type of crime, there are many possible defenses that may come into play. For example, you may have been a bystander with no involvement to the crime or the events that occurred after, or you may have been falsely accused. It is important that you speak with an experienced Torrance criminal lawyer to learn your rights and options.
When to Call a Lawyer
The best time to call a lawyer is when you are accused of the crime. An attorney will get to work immediately to build a strong defense on your behalf. At the Law Offices of Robert Ernenwein, we know how to review the facts and evidence to keep our clients out of jail. Whether you have been accused under California Penal Code 32 or are facing other charges, we may be able to help you.
Contact a Los Angeles or Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer today at 310-375-5858 for a free case review.