[Legal Dictionary] Definition of Accomplice

24 Jul [Legal Dictionary] Definition of Accomplice

An accomplice is someone who knowingly, voluntarily works with the principal offender in the commission of a crime.

The definition is very clear that an accomplice must have a hand in helping someone commit a crime. An accomplice might help or encourage the main offender, but he or she does not have to be present when the crime is committed.

The key to being considered an accomplice is to share criminal intent with the offender. That means the accomplice meant for the crime to be committed and played a part in its commission. What this definition does is protects people who may have been unwise but lacked criminal intent from being convicted as accomplices. For example, a bank teller may have left money on the counter – but if he or she did not intend for a robber to steal it, she will likely not be considered an accomplice.

An accomplice can include:

  • Someone who supplies money, guns or other supplies for the commission of the crime
  • Someone who drives a getaway car knowing that he or she is doing so
  • Someone who watches out for law enforcement in order to protect the people committing the crime
  • Someone who distracts possible witnesses in order to protect the people committing the crime