Just because someone else committed a crime, that doesn’t mean you are safe from prosecution for that crime. If you provided material assistance by hiding the crime or the criminal from authorities after it was committed, you can be indicted as an accessory after the fact. If you find yourself facing accessory-after-the-fact charges in Orlando, you need to take it seriously. Contact our experienced Orlando accessory-after-the-fact lawyers as soon as possible.
Michael Panella is an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney with a strong background as a public defender. He zealously represents clients because he understands how the criminal justice system can harm those who aren’t protected. If you want to protect your rights, Michael Panella is the attorney you want to represent you.
Florida law makes it a crime to provide aid to an individual you know has committed a felony — unless you are a direct blood relation (including siblings) or spouse. If you knowingly provide aid to someone who has committed a felony, you are committing a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the felony the person committed. Prosecutors can and will charge you with accessory after the fact in Florida.
An Orlando accessory-after-the-fact lawyer from Panella Law Firm will make you aware of your options and help you fight these charges.
At an early age, Michael Panella suffered when an unjust legal outcome adversely impacted his family. This experience galvanized his passion for justice. He treats every new client like they are family. He cares about their welfare and always fights vigorously to ensure that their rights are defended throughout the legal process. People choose Michael Panella to represent them because he . . .
The U.S. criminal justice system is designed to protect the rights of the accused, but it can function successfully only when attorneys like those at Panella Law Firm are protecting your rights. The sooner you contact our firm, the better protected you will be from accessory-after-the-fact charges.
If you have been charged with accessory after the fact in Florida, there is a good chance that the prosecutor isn’t actually interested in prosecuting you. It is more likely that the prosecutor is trying to get you to testify against the person who committed the primary felony. An accessory-after-the-fact charge can be used as leverage to force you to testify when the prosecutor doesn’t trust that you would be honest if you were subpoenaed.
While this may seem like illegal blackmail, it is generally considered to be a legal tactic as long as the prosecutor has reasonable cause to believe you were an accessory after the fact. But just because it is legal, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is right. And Panella Law Firm stands up for defendants who are facing an unjust legal system.
To make these charges stick in court, the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you aided an individual who committed a felony and that you were aware they had committed a felony at the time you aided them. The latter is often difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but it can be relatively easy to show probable cause that you were aware a crime had been committed. Prosecutors can take advantage of that fact to indict you even if they don’t think they can successfully convict you.
This is where an experienced Orlando accessory-after-the-fact lawyer is needed. Your criminal defense attorney from Panella Law Firm can independently investigate the situation. If we can find evidence that you weren’t aware of the felony at the time you provided aid, we will present that evidence to the prosecutor. A prosecutor doesn’t like to lose in court and can’t pressure you with charges they know they can’t win.
If you are guilty of accessory after the fact in Florida, we can almost always negotiate a plea deal where charges are dropped if you agree to testify in court. Prosecutors usually prioritize convicting the person who committed the felony over convicting anyone who helped them evade authorities after the fact. Making a deal with you ensures that you will provide truthful and helpful testimony. And your attorney from Panella Law Firm will ensure that you get the best deal possible for your testimony (which usually means all charges are dropped).
If we are forced to go to trial, you can feel comfortable knowing that you are represented by an attorney with an excellent trial record. We know the law and have tried cases before all the judges in the Orlando area. We know how to best argue our cases and what motions are likely to be approved by any particular judge. You can rest assured that we won’t stop fighting until you have been acquitted or received the lightest possible sentence.
The law is hard to understand under the best of circumstances, and when you have been charged with a crime, it is far from the best of circumstances. At the Panella Law Firm, we try to make the law easy to understand so you can feel safe and protected.
The legal system can be overwhelming — especially for someone who has no prior experience with it. But a good lawyer can relieve your stress, answer all of your burning questions, and guide your case toward the most positive outcome possible.
If you end up going to trial for accessory after the fact, your attorney will attack each of the elements that the prosecution must prove. Since the prosecution is forced to prove every element, all we have to do is create reasonable doubt in a single juror about any element. This gives us the advantage, and we push that advantage with the following strategies, depending on the details of your case.
The simplest defense is to show that you didn’t knowingly provide aid. If a friend borrowed your car or stashed something in your garage without your knowledge, you have done nothing wrong. Aid is loosely defined, but it still requires your knowledge and intent.
If a friend asks to borrow money, it is completely legal to lend them money with no questions asked. Even if you suspect they might have committed a crime, unless you know for certain, you are not an accessory after the fact. Your attorney often doesn’t even need to present evidence toward this element because the prosecutor can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
There is a relatively long list of family members who are excluded from the accessory-after-the-fact statute. If you are a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, or sibling of the person you aided, you aren’t guilty of this crime. Prosecutors may not realize that someone is a sibling (especially in blended families) or is legally married to the person who committed the crime.
Prosecutors will use every tool available to them to prosecute an alleged offender. Even when they stay within the law, their tactics aren’t always fair or just. At Panella Law Firm, we believe that every person deserves justice. We refuse to let zealous prosecutors use accessory-after-the-fact charges to pressure you into testifying the way they want. And we will fight zealously if you are purposely overcharged in order to get you to talk.
Whether you are looking for zealous representation, an attorney who cares about your rights, someone you can trust to provide valuable informed advice, or all of the above, you will find what you need at Panella Law Firm. Don’t let Orlando prosecutors bully you with accessory-after-the-fact charges. Call Panella Law Firm today at 407-233-1822 to get a free case evaluation and to learn more about your options.