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Understanding accomplice liability

In Kentucky, people may be charged with a crime and face substantial penalties if they were complicit with another person who actually committed the offense. The person who is charged for being complicit in the commission of a crime is known as an accomplice and may face an identical punishment as the person who committed the crime.

In order to prove accomplice liability, a prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a number of different elements of the offense. It must be proven that a different person committed the crime, that the defendant aided, counseled, encouraged or abetted the other person to commit the crime and that the defendant had the required mental state at the time of the actions.

Being an accomplice to a crime is different than being accused of conspiracy. Conspirators work together with others to plan future crimes, and they may be convicted even if the offense isn't actually committed. Accomplices act while the crime is being committed, providing encouragement or assistance to the person who commits the offense. Examples of accomplices include getaway drivers for robberies, giving someone a gun when a person knows that it will be used to commit a crime or turning off alarm systems to make it easier for a robber to enter a store.

People who are charged with crimes in Kentucky may want to talk to criminal defense attorneys for advice about how they might proceed. Legal counsel may analyze the evidence and the police reports in order to provide an honest and objective assessment of what the best strategy would be.

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