NOT WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR

Posted on: April 1, 2015 by in Criminal Defense
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California Penal Code 32

Orange County criminal defense attorneyWhen Dionne Warwick sang the classic tune, “That’s What Friends Are For,” she wasn’t singing about crime. It’s good to be a friend, but if you’re a friend in the wrong way, you might be committing a criminal act. California Penal Code 32 defines what it means to be an “accessory after the fact.” An accessory after the fact is someone who helps another individual who has committed a felony avoid arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment. If you’re charged with being an accessory after the fact, you’ll need a good lawyer immediately. In Orange County, contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney at once.

In California, being an accessory after the fact is the type of offense that’s called a “wobbler.” At a prosecutor’s discretion, a wobbler can be prosecuted either as a felony or as a misdemeanor; a prosecutor will consider the particulars of the alleged crime and the defendant’s previous criminal record. “After the fact” means after the original crime took place, so being charged as an accessory after the fact is not usually considered as serious as aiding and abetting or being a co-conspirator. For example, if you drive a “getaway” car in a bank robbery, you’ll be prosecuted for bank robbery, but if you permit the robber to hide in your basement, and you had no knowledge of the bank heist beforehand, you’ll be prosecuted as an accessory “after” the fact.

Before the state can convict you, a prosecutor must prove that you knowingly harbored, concealed, or aided a person with knowledge that the person had committed, was charged with, or was convicted of a felony, with the purpose of protecting him or her from arrest, trial, conviction, or sentencing. So the next time a friend shows up at 3:00 a.m. needing help, you first need to ask, “What kind of help?” If you’re arrested and charged with being an accessory after the fact in Orange County or anywhere else in southern California, get the legal help you need from a skilled defense lawyer who will fight for justice on your behalf. Contact an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney immediately.

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