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What to Do When You’re Considered an Accessory to Murder in Florida

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Discounting third degree murder (unintentional manslaughter), murder in Florida is a crime punishable by the following under Florida state law:

  • No less than 10 years for a murder of the second degree if the offender had no prior record;
  • A minimum of 25 years if a firearms was used for a murder of the second degree;
  • A maximum of life in prison for a murder of the second degree if the offender had prior convictions on his or her record; and
  • The death penalty or life without parole for a murder of the first degree.

Murder is the most serious crime that one can commit, but aiding and abetting a murderer is a close runner up.

Aiding and abetting. Accessory to murder. Accessory after the fact. Each of these terms all mean the same thing: that you assisted another individual in the murder of a victim, or in escaping the consequences of his or her actions. If you were an accessory in the second or first degree murder of an individual – whether wittingly or unwittingly – contact an Orlando murder and homicide attorney at The Baez Law Firm right away.

Sentencing for Accessory After the Fact

Under Florida Statute 777.03, a person is considered an accessory to murder if the person maintains, assists, or aids an individual who has committed a murder with the intention of helping the person avoid or escape detention, arrest, trial, or punishment for the crime. If you are found guilty of being an accessory after the fact, you may be charged with one of the following:

  • Felony of the first degree if the murder committed was a capital felony;
  • Felony of the second degree if the murder committed was a life felony or a felony of the first degree.

Defenses to Accessory After the Fact

Under Florida Statute 777.03 (1)(a), a person cannot be charged as an accessory after the fact if they are the suspect’s husband, wife, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister by blood or marriage. On the other hand, an aunt, uncle, or cousin can be charged as an accessory after the fact, even if the individual is related to the suspect by blood.

If you are not related to the individual by blood or marriage, however, you still have a few valid defenses you can use to a charge of accessory after the fact in Florida. Some defenses include:

  • You are the victim of domestic violence: Victims of domestic violence are granted leniency for the murder of their child only if they themselves were victims of domestic violence at the hands of the murderer.
  • You have no duty to report: A person has no duty to report an individual’s illegal conduct to the authorities, even if they have knowledge of a person’s crimes.
  • You simply refused to cooperate: A person cannot be convicted of being an accessory after the fact simply by refusing to cooperate with the authorities. A person has every right to disavow knowledge of the crime, or to refuse to cooperate with the investigation entirely, if they so choose.

Contact an Orlando Homicide Attorney Right Away

A charge of Accessory After the Fact is no small concern. If you have been charged with Accessory After the Fact in Florida, contact the Orlando murder and homicide lawyers at The Baez Law Firm right away. We can evaluate your case and come up with an aggressive defense to the charges brought against you. To schedule your free consultation today, call us right away at 800-588-BAEZ.

Resource:

flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2016/777.03

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