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Accessory After the Fact

Violation of Penal Code §32

Penal Code § 32 PC within the jurisdiction of California delineates the criminal offense that is commonly referred to as "accessory after the fact." This offense entails knowingly providing shelter, concealing, or extending assistance to a person who has committed a felony, with the explicit intention of safeguarding them from arrest, trial, conviction, or sentencing.

Upon conviction, this offense is classified as a felony, carrying the potential for a sentence of up to three years of confinement within a state correctional facility.

The language employed in the code section explicitly states that any individual who, subsequent to the commission of a felony, harbors, conceals, or aids a principal participant involved in said felony, with the intent of facilitating their evasion of arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment, while possessing knowledge of said principal's involvement in the felony, is deemed an accessory to the aforementioned felony.

Various scenarios can exemplify this crime, including actively assisting a felon in evading arrest, acting as a getaway driver for an individual who has just committed burglary, or providing a false alibi for a friend who has been charged with felony DUI.

In order to counter accusations of being an accessory after the fact, criminal defense attorneys rely on a range of defense strategies. These may encompass demonstrating that the accused had no knowledge of the felony being committed, establishing that they acted under duress, or highlighting the fact that they were merely an innocent bystander without any direct involvement in the criminal activity.

The penalties for violating Penal Code § 32 PC in the state of California are classified as "wobbler" offenses, meaning that the prosecuting district attorney has the discretion to charge the offense as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the particular circumstances and the defendant's prior criminal record.

If convicted of a misdemeanor offense of being an accessory after the fact, the potential consequences include imprisonment within a county jail for a period of up to one year, in addition to a maximum fine of $5,000. In the case of a felony conviction, the penalties can involve custody in either a county jail or a state prison for up to three years, accompanied by a maximum fine of $5,000.

It is worth noting that individuals convicted of a misdemeanor offense under Penal Code § 32 PC may be eligible to have their conviction expunged in accordance with the provisions outlined in Penal Code 1203.4. This possibility is contingent upon the successful completion of the designated jail term or probationary period imposed by the court. However, it is important to recognize that felony convictions stemming from this statute are not eligible for expungement, as expungements are not permitted for offenses that entail a state prison sentence.

In addition to the offense of being an accessory after the fact, there are three other related offenses that are worthy of consideration. These include criminal conspiracy (Penal Code § 182), aiding and abetting (Penal Code § 31), and attempted crimes (Penal Code § 664), each encompassing distinct elements and legal implications.

Contact our California accessory after the fact charges dismissal attorneys if you’re facing a PC32 or any other criminal accusation, allegation or charge. Our criminal charges dismissal attorneys possess a deep understanding of the intricacies of this area of law.

Request your free consultation by calling us at (626) 827-7222 today.

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