When trying to understand the criminal offense of Accessory to a Crime, located at C.R.S. 18-8-105, you need to consider whether it would be in society’s best interest to allow people to help others avoid arrest or conviction for a crime. Imagine a world where sophisticated businesses helped others hide from police and escape capture following the commission of a crime. It would present quite a problem for law enforcement, and provide incentive for persons to commit criminal offenses.
What Does the Law Say About Accessory to a Crime in Denver?
You can be charged with Accessory to Crime if you provide assistance in any manner, to someone who has committed a crime, if the assistance is designed to “hinder, delay, or prevent the discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of another for the commission of a crime.” This is a huge list, and encompasses conduct like providing a place for a fugitive to stay, giving a ride to someone trying to hide from police, or alerting someone to the progress of police efforts to locate them. Beyond these modern day examples, the sky is the limit as to what conduct will amount to Accessory to a Crime in Jefferson, Douglas, and Adams County. Read more about Examples of Accessory to a Crime.
Practical Examples We’ve Seen in Colorado
We commonly see people charged with this offense when they lie to police in Aurora, Centennial or Castle Rock about someone hiding in their house, providing money for a family member to flee out of state, or giving a ride to someone in trouble so they can get away from a crime scene. For example, these might occur following a car crash when a drunk friend runs from the scene of an accident and calls a friend for a ride. The friend helps in the get away. As a result, the friend is susceptible to a charge of Accessory to a Crime.
In many cases, family members are not thinking about breaking the law. They are simply doing what family always does: help out relatives. Someone calls for a ride and they help out. Someone is in a bind for money, so they lend it to them. Finally, the police come by and they decide to lie to the police to help out a family member. Under each of these circumstances, the police could charge the family member in Arapahoe County with felony Accessory to a Crime.
Don’t Lie and Don’t Talk – It is Your Constitutional Right to Remain Silent
If the police ever contact you about someone, or about your knowledge of someone, don’t talk to them. You will only be helping them convict you. You are never required to give assistance to police by talking with them. We also recommend that you do not lie to police. The smartest policy is to simply remain silent. This way, no one can later accuse you of affirmatively helping the fugitive or person who has committed an offense. There is a huge difference between lying to police and simply saying nothing, which is your Fifth Amendment right.
If you are approached by police, remain silent and contact our lawyers concerning any Accessory to a Crime charge, at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.