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What it Means to Be an Accessory After the Fact

Were you caught up with the wrong people at the wrong time? Or, do the police believe you assisted a felon after he or she committed a crime in the East Bay? If you’re accused of being an “accessory after the fact” you could be in a lot of trouble.

In California, accessory after the fact is considered a “wobbler,” which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case. In order for you to be found guilty of accessory after the fact, the prosecutor will need to prove the following:

  • Someone committed a felony under California law,
  • You aided, harbored, or concealed someone who committed a felony,
  • You knew that someone committed a felony, and
  • You knowingly and intentionally helped a felon so they could avoid capture and criminal prosecution.

For someone to be found guilty of accessory after the fact, it must have been spontaneous; they couldn’t have known about the crime before it was committed.

Suppose your friend said that he was going to burglarize his employer’s home. If you volunteered to be the getaway driver and hide the stolen goods in your home until the case goes cold, you would not be an accessory after the fact because you took part in the planning process.

On the other hand, if your friend came knocking at your door in the middle of the night asking you to store the stolen electronic equipment for a couple of weeks while things die down and you agree, then you’d be on the hook for accessory after the fact. Because you didn’t become involved until after the crime was committed, you’d be an accessory after the fact.

Penalties for Accessor After the Fact in California

As we mentioned earlier, accessory after the fact under Penal Code 32 PC is a wobbler in California. If it’s prosecuted as a misdemeanor, you face up to one year in county jail. If it’s prosecuted as a felony, you’d face up to three years in prison.

If you’re being accused of accessory after the fact – you’re not alone! Unfortunately, a lot of innocent people are accused of this offense. Sometimes, the defendant was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they had nothing to do with the crime.

Often, the defendant had no knowledge a felony occurred or that a crime was committed. Perhaps the defendant even lived with the felon, or allowed the felon to stay with them; however, they had no clue a felon was sleeping under the same roof.

Sometimes, our client did help the felon only because they were forced to. They were under duress and if they did not assist the felon, the felon would have harmed them or their loved ones. So, the defendant acted strictly out of fear of imminent harm.

If you are accused of accessory after the fact in Oakland or anywhere else in the East Bay, we urge you to contact our firm to meet with Attorney Ahmed for free!

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