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The Sanders Firm, P.C.: Accessorial Conduct and Criminal Law

In this page on accessorial conduct, The Sanders Firm, P.C. focuses on defining what constitutes being an accessory to a criminal act. In criminal law, an accessory or someone who engages in accessorial conduct is a person who in some way supports the commission of a crime but is not involved in the actual crime itself. For example, if someone purchases a firearm and then gives it to someone knowing, they will use it to rob another person; the person who purchased the gun and supplied it to the robber could be considered an accessory.

Accessorial Conduct

An accessory is different from an accomplice in that in criminal law an accomplice is someone who actually participates in the crime. Accessorial conduct precludes actual involvement in the crime.

Article 20 of the New York Penal Law describes accessorial conduct under the heading “Criminal liability for conduct of another. It says, “When one person engages in conduct which constitutes an offense, another person is criminally liable for such conduct when, acting with the mental culpability required for the commission thereof, he solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or intentionally aids such person to engage in such conduct.”

Any assistance in committing a crime may be considered accessorial conduct. Instances include offering financial assistance, emotional support, helping conceal the crime or the criminal and physical help. Providing materials, information, and other such assistance is also grounds for being charged with being an accessory.

Keeping Silent

The Sanders Firm, P.C. believes it is important for everyone to understand that in criminal law accessorial conduct may also involve having knowledge that a crime is going to be committed and failing to report it to the proper authorities. Although we often think that being silent is not an action, it is when one has knowledge of a crime and they do not report it.

Being Charged, Seeking Help

At The Sanders Firm, P.C., we understand that being charged with accessorial conduct is a serious matter, it should never be taken lightly. Depending on the type and severity of the crime, sentences can be harsh. If you have knowledge of a crime that is committed, you should report it to the proper authorities, and if someone asks, you to help them in some way plan a criminal act or to assist them in any way, you need to refuse.

If you presently find yourself being charged with accessorial behavior, you need someone to represent you. Contact The Sanders Firm. P.C. and we will work with you to evaluate your situation. Contact us today and we will be your voice for justice.