04 Jul What is an Accessory After the Fact in California?
Do you know that if you provide any sort of aid to a person who you know has recently committed a felony in California, you will likely be charged with being an accessory after the fact?
When a person is charged with being an accessory after the fact in California, it means that the police have collected evidence that they have harbored, concealed, deliberately lied to the police about the individual’s location, or provided some sort of substantial aid to the individual that helped them evade the police.
It’s important to note that in order to be charged with being an accessory after the fact, you must have known the person committed a felony and that you did so of your own free will.
Getting charged with being an accessory after the fact in California is not something you should take lightly. This is one of California’s wobbler laws which means you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
The exact way the charge is handled usually is determined by how the person you are accused of helping is charged. If they are charged with a misdemeanor, you will face misdemeanor charges. You’ll be charged with felony accessory after the fact if the person is accused of committing a felony.
If you’re convicted of felony accessory after the fact, you could be sentenced to spend as long as three years in one of California’s state prisons.
It’s important to note that there are many ways you can be charged with being an accessory after the fact. Examples of this include:
- Deliberately tell the police that you don’t know where a suspect is when you do
- Providing the suspect with a place to hide from the police
- Driving the suspect either away from the scene of a crime or even to another state so that they can evade the police
- Helping remove or alter evidence
- Providing false alibis
The most common and successful defense in an accessory after the fact case is that you simply didn’t know that the other person had committed a felony. The second most successful defense is that you were acting against your will.