Are you accused of being an accessory after the fact in Orange County?
If so, and if you are found guilty, you could be incarcerated for up to
three years depending on the facts of the case. To learn more about Accessory
After the Fact (AATF) under Penal Code 32 PC, continue reading!
If you are under a lot of heat because the state believes that you helped
a felon after he or she committed a crime, the prosecutor will have to
prove that you did one or more of the following:
- You knowingly concealed, hid, or harbored a felon
- You aided a felon after they committed a crime
- You intentionally helped a felon avoid capture, being tried, convicted,
Here are some examples of ways that you could be guilty of accessory after
the fact: 1) you helped a felon run from the police by hiding them in
your home, 2) you destroyed physical evidence of their crime (e.g. you
threw their handgun into a lake), or 3) you gave the police a false alibi,
saying the defendant was with you and couldn’t have possibly committed
Accessory After the Fact is Not Planned
In order for it to classify as accessory after the fact, it must have been
spontaneous: the defendant’s involvement with the felon must have
happened after the crime took place.
For instance, suppose your friend wants to rob a wealthy businessman at
gunpoint as he leaves his office late at night. You offer to be the getaway
driver. In this situation, you would not be an “accessory after
the fact.” Instead, you’d be a co-conspirator, or an aider
or abettor. Since you were involved in the planning, you’d be liable
On the other hand, let’s say your friend showed up at your house
late one night. He said that he just robbed this businessman in a parking
lot and he walked away with his wedding ring, a Rolex, credit cards, and
$3,000 in cash.
He says, “Since the cops are looking for me, can I hide out at your
place for a couple of days until things die down?” In this case,
you didn’t become involved until after the fact. Since you allowed
your friend to stay with you, the state would consider you an accessory
after the fact.
In California, accessory after the fact can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor
or a felony. As a misdemeanor, it’s up to one year in jail; as a
felony, it’s up to three years in prison.
Unfortunately, innocent people get accused of being an accessory in California
every day. Sometimes, they had no connection to the crime whatsoever.
Sometimes, they had no knowledge a felony was committed.
Then there are situations where the defendant assisted the felon because
they were forced to. If they didn’t assist the felon, the felon
would have harmed them or their family, so they acted under duress.
If you are being accused of accessory after the fact, we urge you to
contact our Orange County criminal defense attorneys for a
free case evaluation.