If you’ve been charged as an accessory after the fact — or you believe you could be charged in the future — then you need the help of an accessory after the fact defense lawyer now. Regardless of what happened, our attorney can help you work through the situation. We understand that people with good intentions can end up in difficult situations. Many who have been charged as an accessory after the fact may not have even realized that they could be charged with a crime for their actions.
Why Choose Cody Villalon as Your Accessory After the Fact Defense Attorney?
Cody Villalon is a Richmond accessory after the fact attorney who limits his practice to criminal and traffic defense because he passionately believes that everyone deserves a dedicated and well-prepared attorney when faced with a criminal charge. Here are some of the reasons Cody Villalon is the right choice for an accessory after the fact defense attorney:
- Free, confidential consultations
- More than 10 years of legal experience
- Has defended more than 1,000 cases, with more than 5,000 hours in court
- Practices criminal and traffic defense exclusively
- Makes time for his clients and responds quickly to calls and emails
- Compassionate and respectful toward his clients but tough on the prosecution
- Solo practitioner, so your case will not be bounced around among attorneys who don’t know you
- Reasonable flat-rate fees.
But the strongest reasons to choose Cody Villalon are the testimonials of his former clients. They can give you the best idea of how you will be treated and how your case will be handled if you retain Cody as your accessory after the fact lawyer.
What Can Cody Villalon Do for You?
If you’ve been charged, or will soon face charges, as an accessory after the fact, then you need a criminal defense attorney right away. We can help you with your immediate next steps, ensure your constitutional rights are protected, and help you formulate a longer-term strategy. Depending on the circumstances of the case, we can help you with some or all of the following:
- Formulate a strategy based on the specific circumstances in your case
- Respond to police questioning
- Review warrants
- Negotiate with the prosecution, including potentially arranging a plea deal if appropriate
- Assist you in entering a plea
- Gather and review any evidence against you
- Represent you in court, including at hearings as well as trial
- Ensure that your constitutional rights are not violated.
But most of all, we will listen to you, treat you with dignity, and advocate for you. Just because you have been charged with a crime, this does not mean that you will be convicted of that crime. Even in the event of a conviction, the circumstances of your case may mean that you don’t have to face the maximum sentence. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
The legal system can be complicated and overwhelming. There are a lot of rules and technicalities that can trip you up, with major consequences. The prosecution has an enormous advantage over individuals without lawyers or those who have hired overextended lawyers who are out of their league. Retaining the right lawyer to strategically lead you through the process can make all the difference.
What Is an Accessory After the Fact?
Helping or aiding another person in the commission of a crime is its own separate crime. That includes any help you provided before, during, or after the commission of the underlying crime. In criminal law, the person who committed the underlying crime is called the principal, and the person who did the helping is called the accessory.
An accessory before the fact is someone who helped the principal before the crime was committed. An accessory after the fact is someone who helped a principal after the crime was committed. The underlying crime must be a felony — you cannot be charged as an accessory if the underlying crime was a misdemeanor.
For you to be convicted of an accessory after the fact, the Virginia Supreme Court requires that the prosecution prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that all of the following things occurred in your case:
- A felony was committed.
- You knew that the principal committed a crime. You can either have directly known about the crime or you could have had indirect notice that the crime occurred.
- You received, relieved, assisted, or comforted the principal.
You can be an accessory after the fact even if you were not at the crime scene. You can also be convicted of being an accessory after the fact even if the principal is not convicted of the underlying crime.
What Are Some Common Examples of Acting as an Accessory After the Fact?
An accessory after the fact helped the principal in some way after the crime was committed. Here are some examples of the most common acts that have led to charges of an accessory after the fact in Virginia:
- Helping the principal to flee the scene of the crime. For example, you might have driven the getaway car.
- Helping the principal to dispose of evidence of the crime. You could have thrown away the weapon or helped to clean up the crime scene. Another example would include disposing of a body.
- Helping to hide the principal from the police. Maybe you directed the principal to a place to hide, hid the principal in your residence, or helped to disguise the principal.
- Giving the principal a place to rest and regroup. You may have provided shelter, food, or clothing while the principal planned the next steps.
- Comforting the principal. Providing emotional support to the principal after the crime can, in some cases, lead to an accessory after the fact charge.
- Providing the principal with resources to flee. Maybe you gave the principal money, food, or other resources to assist with the principal’s escape.
- Hiding information or evidence from the police. Failing to disclose information or lying about the crime to the police can lead to a charge. Another example would include hiding evidence of the crime, such as the weapon or stolen property.
What Are the Potential Punishments for an Accessory After the Fact?
Virginia Code § 18.2-19 provides that an accessory after the fact can be convicted of either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the nature of the underlying crime that the principal committed.
|Accessory After the Fact’s Charge||Accessory After the Fact’s Possible Punishment|
|Class 1 or Class 2 felony homicide offense||Class 6 felony||
|Any other felony offense||Class 1 misdemeanor||Up to twelve months in prison, or up to a $2,500 fine, or even possibly both.|
What Are Some Defenses to an Accessory After the Fact Charge?
The defenses to an accessory after the fact charge can vary widely, depending on the circumstances of your case. Some of the defenses can be a complete defense, meaning that you cannot be convicted of the crime. Another way to defend against an accessory after the fact charge is to provide mitigating factors that can help you obtain a plea deal or a reduced sentence.
The Principal is a Family Member
Virginia law provides that you cannot be found guilty of being an accessory after the fact if the principal or accessory before the fact is any of the following to you:
- Your spouse
- Your parent or grandparent
- Your child or grandchild
- Your sibling.
In addition, if you were the “servant” of the principal, you also cannot be convicted of being an accessory.
The Underlying Crime Was Not a Felony
Virginia law provides that an accessory after the fact charge can only be for cases in which the underlying crimes are felonies, not misdemeanors. If the underlying crime in your case was actually a misdemeanor and not a felony, then you should not have been charged as an accessory, and the charges against you should be dismissed.
The Underlying Crime Did Not Occur
If the underlying crime did not occur, then you cannot be charged as an accessory. This defense can be tricky, because Virginia law provides that you can be convicted of being an accessory after the fact even if the principal is not convicted of the underlying crime.
For this defense to work, you will need to create reasonable doubt that the underlying crime occurred. You may do this by either presenting evidence that the crime did not occur or by poking holes in the prosecution’s evidence that the crime did occur.
To cover your bases, you should almost certainly also attempt to establish that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you aided or assisted the principal.
You Had No Knowledge of the Crime
If you did not know that the principal committed a crime, it does not matter what steps you took to aid the principal. To convict you of being an accessory after the fact, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew about the crime or you had indirect notice of the crime. If the prosecution cannot do that, then you cannot be convicted.
Where this defense gets complicated is in the “indirect notice” part. Maybe you did not witness the crime, and no one told you about the crime. However, the circumstances in your situation may give credence to your having indirect notice. These may include things like witnessing the principal run away from the scene of the crime with a gun, handling stolen property without evidence of its origin, or the principal’s behavior. However, remember, the burden rests on the prosecution to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
You Did Not Provide Any Aid or Assistance to the Principal
If you did not actually provide any aid or assistance to the principal, then you cannot be convicted as an accessory.
You Were Forced to Help
You must have intended to help the principal to be convicted as an accessory. If the principal forced you to help, then you cannot be convicted.
About Accessory After the Fact Attorney Cody Villalon
Cody Villalon is a highly skilled Richmond accessory after the fact attorney who works tirelessly for his clients. He concentrates solely on the practice of criminal defense and traffic defense, building up years of expertise and experience as a criminal defense attorney. Indeed, he has logged over 5,000 hours in court over the course of 10 years, creating relationships with his many clients.
As the son of social workers, Cody Villalon was brought up to believe that everyone is entitled to respect and dignity. He passionately believes in protecting our constitutional rights, and he zealously represents each and every one of his clients because he knows everyone is entitled to a competent defense.
Cody Villalon’s goal is to limit the impact that being charged with a crime has on your life. You do not have to accept less than you deserve. And you, like everyone, deserve a highly motivated attorney who will treat you with respect and compassion.
Contact Cody Villalon Today
Being charged with the crime of being an accessory after the fact, or fearing an impending charge, can be extremely stressful. From the moment you are contacted by the police, an accessory after the fact defense lawyer can help you navigate the process to ensure that you reach the best possible outcome for your circumstances.
Criminal defense Attorney Cody Villalon is a compassionate, seasoned accessory after the fact attorney who will work tirelessly on your behalf. The sooner you retain Cody Villalon, the more confident you can be that you are protecting yourself.
Contact us at (804) 316-0765 or online to schedule a free consultation today.