Aiding And Abetting A Crime In Seminole
When crimes happen in Pinellas County, there are often multiple people involved. While only one person may have actually committed the criminal act, others may have aided and abetted them either by supplying a weapon, providing a false alibi, or otherwise helping the suspect avoid arrest. This is referred to as being an accessory to a crime and carries potential serious penalties. If you are facing these types of charges, get our Seminole criminal attorney on your side.
Penalties For Being An Accessory To A Crime In Florida
Under Section 777.03 of the Florida Statutes, you can face criminal charges of Accessory After the Fact if you assisted a suspect before a crime happened or provided any type of aid knowing that a crime was intended or about to happen. You can also be charged if you helped the suspect avoid detection, arrest, or punishment.
Police and prosecutors in Pinellas County take an aggressive stance against people who aid or abet crimes. Penalties you could face will depend on the severity of the crime itself and include:
- For a third degree criminal offense, such as possession of a controlled substance, stalking, carrying a concealed firearm, or DUI in which others were injured, an accessory to the crime could be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. Penalties include fines up to $1,000 and up to a one year jail sentence.
- For a second degree felony, such as selling cocaine, possession of a firearm by a felon, aggravated battery, burglary, or second degree manslaughter, an accessory could be charged with a third degree felony. Penalties include a $5,000 and up to five years in prison.
- For a first degree felony or life offense, such as murder, an accessory could be charged with a second degree felony. Penalties include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years imprisonment.
Proving You Were An Accessory To A Crime
Under Section 3.59(c) of the Florida Jury Instructions, elements a prosecutor must prove to convict you of being an accessory to a crime in Pinellas County include:
- That a crime was committed by the suspect;
- That you aided or abetted them in committing the crime or attempted to do so in the aftermath;
- That you knew at the time that the suspect had or was going to commit the crime;
- That your actions were with the intent to help the suspect avoid detection, arrest, or a criminal conviction.
There is a limited exception to the above. If the crime was a third degree felony and you are related to the victim, either as a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling, you can not be charged.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
Being charged as an accessory to a crime in Pinellas County is a serious matter. To protect yourself, get Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff on your side. Call or contact our Seminole criminal defense attorney online and request a confidential consultation today.