An accessory to a crime is someone who helps another person commit a crime. In the state of Illinois, you can actually be charged with a crime if you’re the helper – and you can end up spending time behind bars if you’re convicted.
What is an Accessory to a Crime in Chicago?
In order for the court to convict you of being an accessory to a crime in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows or elsewhere in Illinois, you have to:
- Know that someone else is going to commit a crime
- Do something to help that person succeed at committing a crime, like contributing your advice, performing an action or providing financial support
You don’t have to physically be there when the person commits the crime to be guilty of being an accessory. Illinois law criminalizes knowing about a crime and failing to report it.
Accessory to a Crime Examples
The courts can convict you of being an accessory if you do something like explain a building’s security system to someone, drive him or her to the scene and let him or her borrow burglary tools. (Realistically, you can be held liable even if you do less than this, such as only letting the thief borrow your burglary tools when you knew he or she was going to use them to break into someone else’s property.)
You could also be considered an accessory if you:
- Give a ride to someone you know is going to commit a crime, or purposely drive someone away from the scene of a crime to help him or her escape justice
- Teach another person how to steal a car
- Harbor a known fugitive in your home
What Are the Penalties for Being an Accessory?
If you help someone commit a crime, you can be punished for the same crime as the person who actually committed it. That includes prison or jail time, probation, fines, restitution to the victim and community service. That means if you help a person commit a burglary, for example, you can receive the same penalties the actual burglar gets if the court convicts you.
Have You Been Accused of Being an Accessory?
If you’ve been accused of being an accessory to a crime, we may be able to help you.
Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below for a free case review. You’ll talk to an experienced, knowledgeable Chicago criminal defense attorney who can give you case-specific legal advice – and who’s willing to fight hard to preserve your rights during your criminal case.