Some people may think that they need to be present at a crime or have an active hand in it in order to face serious charges. Many people find out too late, however, that you can be charged with a serious crime even if you were aware of the crime after it has already occurred or were simply present as it was being planned. Suddenly, those who may have not had an actual hand in the crime may find themselves facing serious charges simply because they were present at some point before or after the fact.
The specific penalties you face depend on your level of involvement as well as the seriousness of the crime. For the most serious of offenses, you can face significant jail time and significant penalties depending on how much you actually knew about the crime when the person came to you for help. Since it can be difficult to prove that a person actually knowingly helped a person after a crime, an experienced Virginia aiding and abetting attorney may be able to refute evidence the state presents regarding your level of involvement. These crimes are usually reliant upon the testimony of those involved looking to cut a deal for leniency, so their testimony is impeachable by a skilled attorney.
If you help someone with the planning or execution of a felony, you may be charged with being an accessory before the fact to the crime the person committed. This can also be a very serious charge depending on the alleged crime you may have helped plan or execute.
If you are present as a crime occurs and help, encourage or advise the person committing the crime you may face a type of crime called accessory in the second degree. If you are charged as an accessory before the fact or accessory in the second degree, you may face the same punishments as if you had committed the crime yourself. Depending on the crime committed, punishments will vary greatly. For example, if you helped someone commit a first-degree murder, you could be charged with first-degree murder as well and face similar punishments.
Additionally, if you help comfort, hide or otherwise assist someone who has committed a felony with the intent to help them escape capture, prosecution or punishment, you may face charges of accessory after the fact. If you are convicted, you will be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor and face up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
These crimes have many different aspects when it comes time for the prosecution to prove its case. We can work through the evidence against you to give you clear-headed advice regarding what the state intends to present at trial. This expert advice can give you the information you need in order to get the best outcome possible for your given case.
If you are facing accessory or aiding and abetting charges, you need an experienced legal team on your side. With 30 years of representing those charged with all types of crimes, from traffic tickets to murder, we have the expertise to effectively argue your case. We treat each client as part of our family and we treat each case with the importance it deserves.