Can I Be Found Guilty by Association of a Drug Crime?

The expression, “guilt by association” can hold varying meanings in colloquial language. In general, a person incurs no criminal liability for mere association with a criminal. However, when specific criteria are met, criminal charges can be assigned to associative activity.

Criminal law recognizes two classifications of offenders: principals who actually commit a crime and accessories who assist in some way. Accessories can incur criminal liability either before or after the commission of a crime. In some states, accessories before the fact face the same charges as the principal, but Indiana Criminal Law assigns lesser penalties to accessories than principles. In most jurisdictions, accessories after the fact face lower charges and penalties.

To illustrate, a person drives a getaway car for another who robs a liquor store. The driver faces penalties for robbery even though he did nothing but drive and had no intention to rob. Further, the getaway man will face murder charges should the robbery go bad and the robber pull the trigger with deadly results.

Definition of Accessory in Indiana

IC 35-44-3-2 establishes that “A person not standing in the relation of a parent, child, or spouse to another person who has committed a crime or is a fugitive from justice who, with intent to hinder the apprehension or punishment of the other person, harbors, conceals, or otherwise assists the person” is guilty of acting as an accessory.

Essentially, there are three elements necessary for one to be an accessory. First, the principal must actually commit a crime. Second, the accessory must have knowledge that the principal is going to commit the crime, or that the principal has committed the crime. Third, the accessory acts in a way that provides some type of assistance for the commission of the crime, or if after the fact, acts to prevent apprehension or assignments of guilt.

How Can One Become an Accessory to a Drug Crime?

Applying accessory laws to the commission of drug crimes is straightforward. Guilt can arise out of any activity that meets the above three elements. Some common examples are: allowing the possession of drugs in one’s home or vehicle, funding purchases of drugs whether for personal use or resale, concealing evidence of drug activity from police investigation, and providing a hideout for an offender wanted for drug charges.

It shall be a defense to accessory charges that the accused is a spouse, child, or parent of the principal. Also, actions that either aid the commission of a crime or avoidance of justice afterward are not chargeable if the alleged accessory had no knowledge of the crime.

If you or a loved one is involved in a drug crime, take no chances. Learn your liabilities and your rights. Contact or call the Law Office of Stanley E. Robison Jr. at (812) 945-3055 for a confidential consultation.

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