Select your state

Criminal charges

accomplice crimes

A criminal accomplice is a person who knowingly, voluntarily, or intentionally assists another person in the commission of a crime—or under some circumstances, a person who fails to prevent another person from committing a crime. Unlike a person who aids and abets a crime by helping with the planning of the crime but is often not present at the scene of the crime—and unlike an accessory after the fact, who is not present at the scene of the crime but assists after the commission of the crime to help the perpetrator avoid arrest or punishment—an accomplice actively participates in the commission of the crime. For example, a person who acts as a lookout or getaway driver for a bank robbery is an accomplice.

In many states the traditional distinctions between the culpability of accomplices and principals to a crime have been replaced by statute—including the felony murder rule that may make an accomplice guilty of first degree or capital murder if he was the lookout or getaway driver for a bank robbery that resulted in a death.

In Texas, an individual who assists in the commission of a crime is considered an accomplice and can be charged with the same offense as the principal offender. Texas law does not strictly differentiate between principals and accomplices; both can be held equally liable for the crime committed. This means that if a person acts as a lookout or a getaway driver during a bank robbery, they can be charged with robbery as well. Furthermore, under the Texas felony murder rule, if a death occurs during the commission of a felony such as a robbery, an accomplice can be charged with murder, even if they did not directly cause the death. This is because their participation in the felony contributed to the circumstances that led to the killing. The law in Texas holds that anyone who aids, abets, solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another person in planning or committing the offense can be held criminally responsible to the same extent as the person who directly commits the act.

Legal articles related to this topic