Larry P. McDougal
Larry P. McDougal - Attorney at Law
Richmond, Texas
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Elements to merit an accomplice charge

When you think of criminal charges, you probably think of the defendant being the one who carried out the crime. This isn't always the case because someone can be charged as an accomplice. These charges carry the same penalties as the charge for the person who did the unlawful deed, so they are still serious and must be addressed.

Being charged with an accomplice crime requires that there are specific elements present. In many instances, seeing if there is a way that you can call these elements into question can help to shape the direction of your defense strategy. Be sure that you know the important information about these crimes before you face the court.

3 elements that must be present

There are typically three elements that must be present in order for a person to be considered an accomplice to a crime. These include:

  • The person counseled, encouraged, ordered or aided another person to do a crime.
  • The other person did commit the crime.
  • The person was within an appropriate mental state to know what they were doing.

If only one of these elements is missing, the person shouldn't be convicted of being an accomplice. This is why trying to introduce doubt into the mind of each juror is so important.

One thing that also plays a part in whether you are charged with a crime as an accomplice or as part of a conspiracy is the role you have in planning the crime. If you have an active role in it, you are likely going to face conspiracy charges. If you aren't active in the planning, the accomplice charge is more likely.

Building a defense

When you start to build the defense, one of the easiest things to focus on is whether you were acting intentionally or voluntarily. If you can prove that you were not, you might be able to base at least part of your defense on this fact. You don't have to focus your entire defense on only one thing. Instead, you might have a few different ways that you can work to poke holes in the prosecution's case.

Be sure to explore all options for your defense in Texas. Convictions on these matters can lead to time in prison and other penalties. Be sure to find out how different options, including plea deals, might affect your future.

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