Los Angeles Accessory to Murder Defense Lawyers
An accessory to murder charge may be filed when a prosecutor believes the evidence points to your participation, in some manner, to a murder. These crimes can be associated with two main types of involvement in the killing of another person:
- An Accessory Before the Fact: This is a situation in which it is alleged that a person helped another prior to the murder taking place, such as providing a weapon to another individual with knowledge that it would be used to inflict harm on another person.
- An Accessory After the Fact: This is a situation in which it is believed that a person assisted another after a murder, such as hiding the person from law enforcement, driving a getaway vehicle, destroying evidence, or lying to law enforcement when questioned about the crime in an effort to help the perpetrator avoid an arrest, a trial, a conviction, or the penalties associated with murder.
The person who is alleged to have committed the murder is called the “principal.” Under the California Penal Code, every person who “after a felony has been committed, harbors, conceals, or aids a principal in such felony, with the intent that said principal may avoid or escape from arrest, trial, conviction or punishment, having knowledge that said principal has committed such felony or has been charged with such felony or convicted thereof, is an accessory to such felony.”
The penalties imposed for being an accessory to murder before the fact by encouraging, facilitating, inciting or aiding in the commission of the murder will face the same sentence as the person who committed the murder. In felony charges of accessory to murder after the fact, the penalty is up to three years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.
Several situations could be successful when defending a person accused of accessory to murder, including:
- The accused was not aware that the person planned to commit murder or did commit a murder.
- The accused acted under duress – a fear that they would suffer grave consequences if they did not comply.
- The individual accused of murder did not commit the crime.
The consequences of a conviction for accessory to murder are so extreme that the quality, experience, and trial skills of your attorney are of critical importance. While all attorneys have been educated, their experience and natural talent varies widely. At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, our legal team is widely recognized as being among the most accomplished criminal defense lawyers in the Los Angeles area and beyond, particularly known having achieved an impressive record of success at trial in challenging criminal cases.
Murder charges are filed when it is alleged that a person killed another person with malice or malice aforethought. The charge may be filed as first-degree murder or second-degree murder.
- In first degree murder, the act was committed with premeditation, or by a person who was lying in wait.
- Second degree murder is when another person has been killed intentionally, but without premeditation, such an act of rage.
If you or a family member has been charged with accessory to murder, this is a very serious legal situation that must be managed with exceptional legal skills. Our firm works differently than most – while every client has an attorney, the entire team is involved, and the case has a top team of legal professionals on every case. The prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense lawyer is tasked with raising reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty as charged.
If you or someone you love has been charged with or is under investigation for being an accessory to murder, call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 for a free initial case consultation.
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Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
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Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
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Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.