Accessory Before the Fact in North Carolina

by | Jun 18, 2019 | Blog Posts, Federal Criminal Defense, NC Criminal Defense, SC Criminal Defense

Accessory before the fact in North Carolina – There are several ways that people can be charged with a crime.  Sure, most of the time is it because the government is claiming that the person committed the specific acts related to that crime, however it doesn’t always end there.  Involvement with a crime such as; participating in the commission of a crime – aiding and abetting; planning a crime – conspiracy; coming close to completely a crime – attempt, are just a few examples.

Further, someone can even be charged with a crime even if they did not get involved until after the crime was completed.  What we are talking about in this specific case is accessory after that fact. In this blog, we will talk about accessory before the fact to any felony as a separate crime. Like all of our blogs, this is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

What is accessory before the fact?

In North Carolina, accessory before the fact is governed by N.C.G.S § 15-2. A person who is an accessory before the fact to any felony can be found guilty of the principle crime. For example, if a person is found guilty of being an accessory before the fact to a robbery with a dangerous weapon, will be found guilty of robbery with a dangerous weapon if the government proves the elements (see below) beyond a reasonable doubt.

A person can only be convicted if they assisted in the crime before the crime was carried out.

Elements of accessory before the fact

  1. The crime was committed by some person(s) other than the defendant; AND
  2. Before the crime was committed, the defendant counseled, procured, commanded, or knowingly aided that the other person(s) to commit that crime; AND
  3. The defendant’s actions or statements caused or contributed to the commission of that crime by that (those) other person(s); AND
  4. The defendant was not present when the crime was committed.

Punishment for accessory before the fact

In North Carolina, generally, there is no distinction between an accessory before the fact and the principle of the crime (the person who actually carried out the crime). This means that the accessory before the fact is punished the same as the person who actually carried out the felony. A person will be punished according to the North Carolina felony sentencing guidelines.

Certain exceptions apply in certain situations in which a person is found guilty of accessory after the fact to a capital felony.

What about accessory after the fact?

You can read about accessory after the fact here.

If you are in need of a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact us to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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