Criminals aren’t the only individuals who can be punished by the law. In certain cases, people who assisted the criminal in some way can be charged and convicted, as well. In legal terms, this is referred to as being an accomplice to a crime.
As is the case with regular crimes, Nevada statutes have specific penalties for individuals who assist in criminal acts. Their guilt, however, depends on particular factors related to the incident itself. For now, let’s look at penalties for assisting a fugitive in Las Vegas.
Explaining a Criminal Accomplice
In legal terms, an accomplice to a crime is a person who knowingly and willingly assists in a criminal act. Generally, accomplices provide assistance to the implementation of the crime, but are not always directly involved in the crime itself. An accomplice may only be providing information for a bank robbery instead of breaking into the bank itself, for example.
Accomplices have different sub-categories depending on their role in assisting a criminal act. In US law, the two commonly-defined categories are the abettor and the accessory. Criminal accessories provide assistance before the fact, while abettors are individuals who assist during the crime itself.
Accomplices and Fugitives
Fugitives are suspected or proven criminals who are evading the law. They will do all they can to avoid being taken in, from hiding in unlikely places to crossing state or national borders. In some cases, they will seek help with people who could hide them.
A person becomes an accomplice to a fugitive if they provide voluntary assistance to the latter’s plans to avoid the law. This aid can be as simple as letting the suspect stay in their place for a few days or as complex as providing means for the suspect to escape to a more distant location. The latter, however, usually falls under obstruction of justice, especially if the assistance happened many days later.
Penalties for Accomplices
Accomplices are often charged on the same level of crime as the perpetrator that they are assisting. That means that hiding a fugitive from a felony case equates to a category C felony, or assisting a misdemeanor suspect means a possible misdemeanor charge. Felon accomplices can expect up to 5 years in jail, and over $10,000 in fines. Those assisting misdemeanor offenses can expect a year in jal and at least $6,000 in fines.
There is also a distinct category if the defendant was an accessory to the crime. For example, the defendant chose to destroy evidence or conceal its existence. Such an act qualifies as a category C felony and can lead to prison time of up to 5 years and a $10,000 fine. Harboring a fugitive who crossed state lines escalates the charge to federal court, with higher penalties involved.
Accomplices to a crime may not have as severe a punishment as the actual perpetrators, but they still have to deal with a lot of legal matters along the way. Don’t get entangled with such a difficult situation! Get in touch with a veteran defense attorney to help you out.