Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney for Accomplice Charges
If you are involved in a crime committed by another person, it is possible that you can be charged with an offense for assisting that person. Depending on the underlying accomplice charges can result in severe penalties if a defendant is convicted. That is why it is important to understand when a person could be charged as an accomplice. If you were arrested and charged as an accomplice to a crime, contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney.
At the Law Office of Lloyd Long, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the legal representation they need to fight their criminal case. The criminal legal process can often be intimidating, but we are here to help streamline the process. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, contact the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171, or contact us online.
Pennsylvania Accomplice Liability Laws
Accomplice liability addresses the culpability of a defendant for the criminal actions of another person. Pennsylvania law states that a person can be guilty of a crime if they commit the crime of their own volition or a person becomes “legally accountable” for the crime of another person. This does not mean that another actor will not face criminal liability for their crime, but that one or more people can also be held responsible for the crime.
There are multiple factors that determine whether a person can be held accountable for the criminal actions of another:
- Whether a defendant facilitated or encouraged the commission of a crime
- Whether a defendant offered to find or found other people to participate in the commission of a crime
- Whether a defendant assists or promises to assist another person in committing a crime
There are some situations where an individual cannot be charged with complicity in a crime. For example, if a person was a victim of a crime, they cannot later be charged as an accomplice to the crime. Other scenarios where a person cannot have accomplice liability include:
- A defendant’s conduct was a coincidence and did not satisfy the requirements of the crime
- The defendant withdrew from the crime before it was committed
To withdraw from a scheme to commit a crime and not be deemed an accomplice to the crime, there are other actions a person must take aside from abandoning the crime. In addition to withdrawing from the crime, a person must take steps to stop the crime from being successfully completed. This typically means that law enforcement must be made aware of the plot to commit the crime. However, it is not enough to inform law enforcement of the crime while it is being committed; law enforcement must be given enough time to prevent the crime from happening. For example, warning the police about a scheme to rob a bank minutes before it occurs is not sufficient to withdraw from the crime.
If a person intended to withdraw from a crime but did not take all the proper steps to abandon the crime, they can still be charged with accomplice liability.
To learn more about accomplice liability and how a conviction could affect you, continue reading and speak with an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer.
Grades of Felonies and Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania
There are varying levels of felonies and misdemeanors that a defendant could be charged with as an accomplice to a crime. For example, there are three different grades of felonies: first degree felonies, second degree felonies, and third degree felonies. Misdemeanors follow this grading system as well.
First degree felonies are the most severe type of felony; it carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and $25,000 in criminal fines. Second degree felonies carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and also $25,000 in fines. A conviction for a third degree felony can result in seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
First degree misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor; if convicted, a defendant can be sentenced to five years in prison and may be ordered to pay $15,000 in fines. Second degree misdemeanors can carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Finally, third degree misdemeanors are punishable by one year in prison and $2,000 in fines.
It is also important to note that if you were an accomplice to the crime of murder, it is possible to receive a life sentence under some circumstances.
Our Philadelphia Accomplice Liability Lawyers are Ready to Work with You
If you or a family member was arrested as an accomplice to a crime, consult with an experienced Philadelphia accomplice liability lawyer today. Criminal defense lawyer Lloyd Long possesses several years of experience litigating dozens of criminal law cases, and he would be proud to represent you. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact the Law Office of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171.