It’s bad enough to be arrested by the police and charged with a crime, but what if you were actually charged with being a criminal accomplice? Proving you had no involvement in the crime can be difficult if law enforcement has already identified you as an accessory to the crime. Here’s how to go about seeking legal aid if you’ve been charged with being an accomplice to a criminal offense.
Take the Initiative to Understand Criminal Conspiracy Laws & Penalties for Accomplices
According to statute, the “principal” defendant is the one who commits the offense, while a “co-conspirator” or “accomplice” is a defendant that is someone who has assisted the principal in committing the offense in some way. Some people are surprised to discover that a criminal accomplice is usually just as liable as the principal, even if they didn’t actually commit the illegal act, specifically if the crime resulted in another person’s serious injury or death.
Know That State Prosecutors Have the Burden of Proof In Criminal Cases
As with other criminal cases, the state’s prosecuting attorneys will need to provide evidence that you were a co-conspirator or an accomplice to the crime. This proof will need to be compelling and withstand all doubt for you to be convicted. Elements prosecutors are responsible for illustrating include:
- You did actually break a law by conspiring with or aiding the principal defendant
- It was not possible for your identity to be mistaken as that of someone else
- That you knew, or should have known, that your behavior was unlawful in nature
With a lawyer’s help, you may be able to counter the prosecution’s case with your own proof. Say you have a solid alibi for the date and time the principal is accused of committing the crime proving that were in another location or with another person, this could be sufficient to clear your name.
You may also be able to show that you were unaware that the person you were with was involved in a crime. For example, if you were sitting in a car with someone who pulled up to a gas station, asked you to wait in the car, then exited and sped away, you may not immediately think that they stole from the convenience store or that you were photographed or videotaped in the exit vehicle.
Call an Experienced Palm Beach County Defense Lawyer Right Away
Even if the police only suspect you of assisting someone else in committing a crime or gave a criminal offender a tip as a joke, you still might face substantial consequences if they eventually commit the crime.
Your livelihood is in jeopardy if law enforcement can successfully establish in a court of law that you either helped conspire to commit a crime or physically assisted someone else with its commission. Contact Michael T. Rabideau today at (561) 820-4848.