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Determining accomplice liability and conspiracy

Ohio residents may have heard of the concept of aiding and abetting in terms of committing a crime. Legally, this is also known as accomplice liability.

This is a serious charge because even if people accused of being an accomplice do not actually commit the crime, they may still face the same penalties as if they did. However, certain elements must be in place for a person to be considered an accomplice. These include the fact that the accomplice aided or encouraged the crime and that the accomplice was in the right mental state and acted knowingly. Examples of ways that a person might be an accomplice include loaning a weapon to someone knowing that it will be used in the commission of a crime, driving a getaway car or turning off an alarm system at a place of business where the accomplice is employed.

A separate category is known as conspiracy. The difference in the two is that conspiracy deals with the planning of the crime while being an accomplice deals with the actual commission of the crime. This means people can be charged with conspiracy whether or not the crime is committed, and if the crime is completed, they might face charges related to conspiracy and being an accomplice.

People who have been charged with conspiracy or as an accomplice may want to discuss criminal defense strategies with an attorney. They may want to plead not guilty in court. For example, the actual perpetrators of the crime might have lied about their involvement, or there may be an unreliable eyewitness account.

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