In most criminal cases, crime’s perpetrator is known as the principal, while those who help them commit the crime are called accomplices. Even though the accomplice does not actually carry out the crime, they are just as guilty as the principal. For instance, a person may rob a bank after a worker at the bank leaves the door unlocked or furnishes the security code. In this article, readers can learn more about accomplice liability, and they can also learn how Montgomery County Criminal Lawyers can help.
Elements of Accomplice Liability
For a person to be held criminally liable, the prosecutor must prove that they committed an act with criminal intent. In cases of accomplice liability, a court can find a defendant guilty of someone else’s acts. For the prosecution to meet the burden of proof, they must prove that the alleged accomplice intended to help the principal commit the crime. State law requires that the accomplice must aid, counsel or encourage the principal in committing a crime.
The Scope of Accomplice Liability
An accomplice can be found culpable for the actual planning and commission of a crime. Moreover, they can be found liable for other acts, as long as those acts were foreseeable as the original crime was being committed. Montgomery County Criminal Lawyers can advise their clients as to whether their acts fall under the category of accomplice liability.
Examples of Liability
Montgomery County Criminal Lawyers know that there are many patterns of the fact that meet the standards for accomplice liability. For instance, someone can be the accomplice if they drive the getaway car in a robbery, or if they are on the lookout for law enforcement as a crime is committed. People can also be found liable if they send weapons, money, tools or other necessities in committing a crime. Accomplices don’t have to be present as a crime is committed; all that’s necessary is that the person provided assistance before, during and/or after the criminal act.
In some cases, accomplices can avoid culpability if they withdraw their support before the criminal act is committed. If the accomplice only provided encouragement, they can cancel their liability by actively discouraging the suspect. However, if the accomplice provides aid beyond that, Montgomery County Criminal Lawyers will advise them to take further steps to negate additional liability.
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