Orlando Aiding and Abetting Attorneys

The Legal Definition

Florida Statute §777.03 Accessory after the fact – Any person who maintains or assists the principle or an accessory before the fact, or gives the offense any other aid, knowing that the offender had committed a crime.

Aiding and Abetting Overview

The State of Florida makes it a crime to assist anyone who has committed a crime.  The crime of accessory after the fact also referred to as Aiding and Abetting cannot arise until the underlying crime is complete.  The accessory after the fact does not have to witness the actual crime.  In order to be convicted of the offense, the State must prove that the accessory either knew or was provided sufficiently reliable information that would give a reasonable person sufficient basis to believe that the crime was committed by the person who is being assisted.   At trial, the State will be required to present evidence of the crime and the accessory’s knowledge of it.  Simply refusing to cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation does not meet the requirements of the statute.

Felony offense levels for Accessory after the fact:

Original Offense                                 Level of Offense for aiding the offender

Capital Offense                                               First Degree Felony

Life/First Degree Felony                                 Second Degree Felony

Second Degree Felony                                    Third Degree Felony

Third Degree Felony                                       1st Degree Misdemeanor

The Florida Jury Instructions 3.5(c) provide an outline of the requirements to prove the crime of accessory after the fact.  Each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. A (felony alleged) was committed by (name of person committing felony).
  2. After the (felony alleged) was committed, (defendant) [maintained] [assisted] [aided or attempted to aid] (name of person committing felony).
  3. At that time, (defendant) knew that (name of person committing felony) had committed the (felony alleged).
  4. (Defendant) did so with the intent that (name of person committing felony) avoid or escape detection, arrest, trial, or punishment.

If the felony alleged is a third degree felony, give element #5.

  1. (Defendant) was not related to (name of person committing felony) by blood or marriage as husband, wife, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister.

If you are being questioned by law enforcement, it’s imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense law firm.  We offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of the case and answer all your questions.  Contact our office at 407-377-0150 to speak directly with one of our aiding and abetting attorneys.

Reference:   Bowen v. State, 791 So. 2d 44 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2001)