Accessory After the Fact in Florida
- What is Accessory After the Fact?
- 777.03: According to the Florida Statute an Accessory After the Fact is “any person who maintains or assists the principal or an accessory before the fact, or gives the offender any other aid, knowing that the offender had committed a crime and such crime was a capital , life, first degree, or second degree felony, or had been an accessory thereto before the fact, with the intent that the offender avoids or escapes detection, arrest, trial, or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.”
- Summed up: So to simplify, you are guilty of accessory if you help a person who you know committed an offense.
- Example: your friend robs someone with a weapon. Your friend comes running to you and hands you the weapon. Tells you he just robbed someone and needs you to hide the weapon. You hide the weapon for him. You have committed the crime of Accessory After the Fact to Robbery w/ a weapon.
- Punishments for Accessory After the Fact:
- Using Accessory After the Fact as a Defense:
- Fine Line: Often times there is a fine line between Accessory and Principal in the 1st Degree.
- Principal in 1st Degree: If you commit the act yourself OR you aid, abet, counsel, hire, or otherwise procure the offense to be committed you are a principal in the 1st degree.
- Often times the state will take a person who hides evidence, or who helps drive the primary culprit away and charge them as principle in the 1st Degree. They proceed under the premise that the person actually aided the offense being committed. However, the difference in consequences can be huge. For example, a person looking at life in prison, can quickly be looking at something 15 years or less by simply changing the designation from Principal to Accessory After the Fact. Understanding the difference and the argument are important to your case.