Aiding and Abetting/Accessory

A criminal charge of aiding and abetting or accessory can usually be brought against anyone who helps in the commission of a crime, though legal distinctions vary by state. A person charged with aiding and abetting or accessory is usually not present when the crime itself is committed, but he or she has knowledge of the crime before or after the fact, and may assist in its commission through advice, actions, or financial support. Depending on the degree of involvement, the offender’s participation in the crime may rise to the level of conspiracy.


Harboring A Fugitive

Harboring a fugitive, means that you are helping them to hide out or keeping them in your home.
To aid or abet a crime is to assist in the commission of a crime. In most cases, someone who is guilty of aiding and abetting is not physically present when the crime is committed, but was aware that the crime would be committed before it actually happened.
The laws and punishments concerning aiding and abetting vary from state-to-state, but all states have laws against it. Just because you don’t participate in the commission of a crime doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for your decision to assist the person who did commit the crime.


“A person is an accessory to a crime if, with intent to hinder, delay or PREVENT the discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another for the commission of a crime, he renders assistance to such person.” This crime can be up to a Class 4 FELONY, punishable by up to two (2) years in prison and/or a fine up to $500,000.00


Typically, District Attorney’s will only accept charges of accessory on major felonies or where the wanted party has gone on to commit more serious charges while a fugitive.

However, you can be charged with misdemeanors such as False Reporting, Obstruction or False Information during Investigation.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question) Can police officers enter your home without permission while on a pursuit of a fugitive?

Answer) Yes, it is perfectly legal for a cop to enter your house without permission to pursue a fugitive. It is also perfectly legal for them to do the same if they feel their is a potential danger inside. For instance, in the case of a fire….

Question) Can families who assist in hiding a relative who has confessed to a heinous crime be charged with anything?

Answer) Yes, obstructing justice, aiding and abedding a fugitive. If they have been bonded, there would be a charge of bond jumping, failure to appear, etc.. and if someone knowingly doesn’t turn someone in that is living at their home for a crime the court system could and would most likely charge them accordingly.

Here’s an example of what can happen if you aid a fugitive in any way:

Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST) Announce Fugitive Arrested for Aiding and Abetting a Murder Suspect

Dayton, OH – Earlier this morning, the Dayton arm of the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SOFAST) arrested a female in Wilmington, Ohio. Kendra Rollins, 34, of Middletown, was arrested for aiding and abetting Rodney Young, a fugitive arrested by SOFAST in December 2008 for Murder. Rollins was arrested at her residence in the 100 block of Woodland Avenue in the city of Wilmington.

The arrest was the result of the fugitive investigation of Rodney Young back in December. Young was wanted by the Trotwood Police Department for the December 12th fatal shooting at Higgins Station, a bar in Trotwood. Five other people were wounded during that shooting. Rollins is accused of assisting Young by obtaining a hotel room at the Days Inn located in Covington, Kentucky and supplying Young with cash to further avoid arrest.

The Marshals Service alleges that Rollins provided false information during an interview and pursued charges based upon their belief she provided assistance to Young. The U.S. Marshals Service takes seriously anyone making false statements to a federal law enforcement officer. Making a false statement to a federal officer carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The U.S. Marshals Service was America’s first federal law enforcement agency and each year arrests more fugitives than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined.

SOFAST in the Miami Valley area is comprised of the following federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies: United States Marshals Service, U.S. Attorney’s office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Agriculture, OIG, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Clark County Sheriffs Office, Darke County Sheriffs Office, Preble County Sheriffs Office, Dayton police Department, German Township Police Department, Germantown Police Department, Greenville Police Department, Miamisburg Police Department, Moraine Police Department, New Lebanon Police Department, Perry Township Police Department, Springfield Police Department, and the Trotwood Police Department.