As seen on:
1610 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL
Board Certified Criminal Trial Specialist
If you are an accomplice to a crime, you may be found guilty of the principle offense. At common law, a crime consisted of the following parties:
· Principal in the first degree – the person who committed the offense;
· Principal in the second degree – person who aided or encouraged the crime and was present ;
· Accessory Before the Fact – person who assisted or encouraged the crime but who was not present;
· Accessory After the Fact – person who knew the act was a felony and assisted in the escape of arrest of punishment of the offense.
At common law, the principal had to be convicted of the crime for the others to be convicted. However, this is not the case under modern statutes in most jurisdictions. Under modern statutes, all parties to the crime can be convicted of the principal offense. However, accessory after the fact is treated separately and not punished like the principal offense.