So, You've Been Charged With Being An Accessory To A Crime In Orange, County, CAUnder California law, there can be two parties to a crime: the principals and accessories. A principal can be the person who committed a crime. It can also apply to “an accessory before the fact” – anyone who aided, abetted, advised, or encouraged the commission of a crime.

Aiding and abetting are addressed under Section 31 of the California penal system. A person charged with this offense could be facing the same penalties as the person who actually committed the crime.

California Penal Code 32 – Parties to a Crime: Accessories

By contrast, an accessory is someone who aids or assists a principal in escape from arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment, knowing that the principal has committed, been charged, or convicted of a felony criminal offense.They are referred to as “accessories after the fact.”

Examples of being an accessory to a crime under Section 32 of the California penal system can include:

  • Harboring or concealing someone from arrest.
  • Misleading the police.
  • Destroying or hiding evidence.
  • Providing a false alibi for a suspect.
  • Helping someone flee from the scene of a crime.

Penalties for Being Convicted of Being The Accessory To A Crime in Orange County, CA

Violating PC 32 is a wobbler offense. This means you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the circumstances in the case and any prior criminal history. A misdemeanor accessory conviction could land you in a county jail for up to one year and cost you up to $5000 in fines. A felony accessory conviction results in being sentenced to jail or state prison for up to three years and up to $5000 in fines.

Defenses Against Being Charged as an Accessory To A Crime In Orange County, CA

In order to be convicted of being an accessory after the fact, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • A person was facing charges for committing a felony crime, or had been convicted of committing a felony crime;
  • The defendant was aware of the fact that this person had committed, been charged with, or convicted of this crime;
  • The defendant provided assistance to this person in order to help them avoid arrest, trial, or punishment.

Depending on the facts in the case, possible defense strategies against accessory charges in California can include:

  • The defendant had no knowledge the principal committed a crime or was charged or convicted of a crime
  • The defendant was acting under duress when they helped the principal
  • They were an innocent bystander to the crime

Protect Your Rights – Speak to an Orange County CA Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged as an accessory to a crime in Orange County, CA it’s important to find a lawyer with the necessary experience and expertise to effectively defend your case.

Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. He knows the tactics the protection will employ to get their conviction and how to craft effective defense strategies against their charges. Jim’s skilled legal representation often results in reduced or dropped charges against his clients.

The sooner you hire an attorney to represent you, the better. Contact the law offices of Jim Tanizaki through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation with a leading Orange County, CA criminal defense lawyer.