Accomplice Law & Legal Definition


An accomplice is someone who aids in the commission of a crime. An accomplice is distinguished from an accessory by usually being present or directly aiding in the crime and may share in the same charge and punishment as the principal criminal.

An accomplice is someone who knowingly, voluntarily, and with common interest, participates in the commission of a crime, and can be charged with the same crime(s) for which the accused will be tried. The law does not recognize accomplices to any misdemeanor or the crime of treason.

There are three (3) ways to offer a defense to the crime of being an accomplice:

  1. Mistake of fact -- this is not the same as "I didn't know it was a crime" (mistake of law) but a mistake of fact good faith claim out of naivete.
  2. Abandonment -- the complicity was abandoned in a timely manner; the accomplice terminated their participation either completely or in part such as to deprive the principal of effectiveness at committing the crime.
  3. Withdrawal -- the complicity was repudiated voluntarily (not motivated solely by a fear of getting caught).