Accessory After the Fact California

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, or sentenced

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 the crime.

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 for robbery.

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.

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