May 23, 2015
Complicity Charges in Ohio
Written by Erb Legal LLC
Helping someone to commit a crime in Medina, Wooster or North Canton, or encouraging them to do so, can be a crime in its own right under the criminal laws in Ohio. Acting as an accomplice to someone committing a criminal act, or aiding and abetting that person can result in the same penalties as if you had committed the crime. For instance, if you provide someone with the floor plans of a bank building to use in robbing the bank, your punishment could be the same as that of the person who committed the robbery.
Conduct Constituting Complicity in Medina, Wooster or North Canton
The crime of complicity does not require active participation in the actual commission of another crime. A person can be charged with complicity for doing any of the following:
- Soliciting or procuring another person to commit an offense
- Aiding or abetting another person in committing an offense
- Conspiring with another person to commit any offense specified in section 2923.01 of the Revised Code
- Causing a person who is innocent or irresponsible to commit an offense
Penalties for Complicity in Medina, Wooster or North Canton
A person convicted of complicity is subject to the same punishment in Medina, Wooster or North Canton as a person who actually committed the underlying crime. Someone who supplies a gun to a person knowing that it will be used in a robbery could be charged with complicity and, if convicted, sentenced to the same punishment as the person who actually committed the robbery.
Defenses to a Complicity Charge
Ohio does not allow an individual charged with complicity to avoid conviction just because no one is charged as the principal offender. The person supplying the gun to the robber could be charged and convicted of complicity even if the robber is never arrested and charged.
It is an affirmative defense to a complicity charge in Medina, Wooster or North Canton to prove that the defendant withdrew and terminated his complicity prior to the commission of the underlying offense or prior to the attempted commission of it. Because termination is an affirmative defense, the burden of proving it is on the defendant. The defendant must prove that the termination of participation in the complicity was a complete and voluntary renunciation of his role in the criminal offense.
Use of Accomplice Testimony at Trial
Prosecutors in in Medina, Wooster or North Canton are allowed to use the testimony of an accomplice to convict someone charged with complicity. It is left to the jurors hearing the case to evaluate the testimony and decide its worth in establishing the guilt of the accused. The fact that the testimony is from an accomplice might affect the credibility of the witness, but it does not automatically render it inadmissible.
Speak to an Attorney
Complicity laws in Ohio target accomplices who assist in the planning or execution of a crime. Because the penalties for complicity are the same as for the actual commission of the crime, a person who has been arrested and charged with complicity should speak to a criminal defense attorney to learn more about the charge and defenses to it.