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My Nephew Stayed at My Home for a Few Days and Now I am Being Charged as an Accessory After the Fact

In North Carolina, an accessory after the fact is defined as someone who assists a person who has committed a crime with the intent to help them avoid arrest, trial, or punishment. The key element is that the individual provides aid or support after the commission of the crime. This can include actions such as hiding the offender, providing false information, or helping them escape law enforcement.


Typical Situations Involving an Accessory After the Fact

  • Sheltering or Hiding the Offender: A common scenario is when a person knowingly hides the individual who committed the felony, either at their residence or in another location, to prevent their arrest or capture.

  • Providing Transportation: Another typical situation is offering transportation or helping the offender escape to a different location, such as providing a getaway vehicle or arranging for their travel to evade law enforcement.

  • Destroying or Concealing Evidence: A person may be charged as an accessory after the fact if they knowingly destroy or conceal evidence related to the commission of a felony, thus hindering the investigation and prosecution of the primary offender.

The Process of Charging an Accessory After the Fact


When law enforcement believes that an individual may be an accessory after the fact, they may conduct an investigation to gather evidence. If there is sufficient evidence, the district attorney's office can file charges against the individual. The process generally involves:

  • Arrest: The person suspected of being an accessory after the fact may be arrested based on the evidence gathered during the investigation.

  • Formal Charges: Once arrested, the district attorney's office will review the case and determine whether there is enough evidence to formally charge the individual as an accessory after the fact.

  • Legal Proceedings: The case will proceed through the legal system, including arraignment, pre-trial hearings, and, if necessary, a trial.

Defenses to an Accessory After the Fact Charge

  • Lack of Knowledge: If the accused can demonstrate that they were unaware of the felony committed by the primary offender, it can be a viable defense. They must establish that they had no reason to suspect or knowledge of the crime.

  • Absence of Intent: To be convicted as an accessory after the fact, there must be evidence of intent to aid or assist the primary offender. If the accused can show a lack of intent or that their actions were unintentional, it may serve as a defense.

Coastal South Law Firm: Assisting Individuals Charged as Accessories After the Fact


Facing charges as an accessory after the fact can be a daunting experience, requiring a thorough understanding of the law and the ability to mount a strong defense.

Coastal South Law Firm, with its experienced attorneys in Brunswick and New Hanover County, North Carolina, can provide invaluable legal assistance.


The firm's attorneys possess in-depth knowledge of North Carolina criminal law, including the specific statutes governing accessory after the fact charges. We are skilled in analyzing evidence, identifying potential defenses, and crafting effective legal strategies tailored to each client's unique circumstances. Contact us now for a confidential consultation.


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