ACCESSORY TO CRIME & COMPLICITY
Accessory to Crime, C.R.S. 18-8-105; Complicity, 18-1-603
Accessory and Complicity are charges which can make a person just as responsible for a crime as if they were present and committed it themselves in Denver or Arapahoe County. Whether you lend a hand before a crime (Complicity), or after the crime (Accessory), you can be charged. If acting in complicity with another, you will be charged the same as the person committing the crime. If acting as an accessory, you will be charged with a lesser felony if the underlying crime is a felony, or with a petty offense, if the underlying crime is a misdemeanor.
Elements of These Crimes:
Accessory to a Crime (C.R.S. 18-8-105) in Larimer, Grand or Weld County, occurs if a person intends to “hinder, delay, or prevent the discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of another for the commission of a crime”.
Complicity (C.R.S. 18-1-603), on the other hand, is a crime in which “[a] person is legally accountable as principal for the behavior of another constituting a criminal offense if, with the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of the offense, he or she aids, abets, advises, or encourages the other person in planning or committing the offense.” The person charged does not have to be present when the crime is committed. So, Complicity involves assistance before the crime and Accessory involves assistance after the crime.
Citizens are not required to affirmatively assist police by telling them all they know to avoid being charged with one of these crimes. A person must actually do something which conceals the whereabouts of, or assists the person being sought. For example, providing a place for someone to hide in Littleton, or giving money to a known fugitive friend in Aurora, is all it takes to be charged.
We can imagine the case where someone provides blueprints of a bank or a key to a building, to people who are later planning to commit Burglary at the location. This is a clear-cut case of Complicity. Imagine though, the realistic situation where someone lets a friend take their car to another state while running from police. If these facts were true, that would also be enough to be charged with Accessory to a Crime in Douglas County, Jefferson County or Adams County. Assistance on either the front end, or after the fact, is dangerous conduct and just as serious as being involved in the original crime.
So, if your friend asks for help committing a crime or is being sought by police, the safest help you can render is to have them be smart, exercise their right to remain silent, and call the experienced attorneys at O’Malley and Sawyer, LLC at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect their future.