California Criminal Law: What is Accessory After the Fact?

Stockton Criminal Law AttorneyIn California, as well as across the rest of the US, it is illegal for individuals to assist individuals who have committed serious criminal offenses. This type of action carries its own charge, known as accessory after the fact, and involves specific actions meant to protect the perpetrators.

For this post, we’re discussing the specifics of accessory after the fact and looking at some of the defenses that might be used when a person is charged with this type of crime in CA.

Defining Accessory After the Fact

As the name implies, this type of charge involves actions that are meant to help or protect a person after he/she has committed a crime in CA. This can involve helping hide a person, providing false information to delay or derail an investigation, and any other action meant to protect a person from facing an arrest, a trial, a conviction, or any subsequent punishments. Depending on the circumstances at hand, this can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.

Legal Defenses for Charges Involving Accessory After the Fact

While each case is different, there are general defenses that we often see used with this type of charge, with varying degrees of success. These include:

  • The other person did not commit a felony, or you had no knowledge of it
  • You were under extreme duress when the incident took place
  • You were mistakenly identified or accused falsely
  • You were a bystander who had no links to the crime or the aftermath

Rely on a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in CA

We hope this article helped clear the air about a charge that is often confusing and misunderstood. If, after reading this, you’d like to learn more about this topic, or any other topic relating to criminal law in CA, remember that we at the Jacot Law Firm are here to help.

Call us at 209-463-1800 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys.