Difference Between Accessory And Accomplice

Difference Between Accessory And Accomplice
Difference Between Accessory And Accomplice

Difference Between Accessory And Accomplice


The key difference between accessory and accomplice in law is related to individuals who have helped to commit a crime. The primary difference is that the accomplice is a willing and knowing voluntary participant in the crime.

An abettor is someone who assists the crime after the crime has been committed, whereas an accomplice is someone who assists the main culprit either before or during the crime. An accomplice or an abettor can be an accessory.

A person who voluntarily and knowingly facilitates a crime is called an accomplice. Anyone who, with the same criminal intention and purpose as the principal offender, voluntarily, intentionally, or knowingly, encourages or solicits another person to commit a crime, or attempts to assist in its planning and execution,” -The New World Law Dictionary, Webster.

According to the above explanation, an accessory is someone who assists a crime by driving a gateway car, aiding in the planning, providing weapons, giving the offenders an alibi, or hiding the criminal. Although an accessory is not present at the site of the crime, he is aware of the crime that has been or is likely to be committed.

Understanding The Nature Of Accomplice:

A person who is guilty of another person’s crime, voluntarily and knowingly, supporting the criminal before or after the crime, is an accessory. As a result, an accessory may be an enabler or accomplice. Hence, the accessory can be defined as: “Anyone who, either or after the commission of a crime, becomes guilty of such an offence as a voluntary participant, not as a chief actor, but as a participant, by advice, command, investigation, or concealment.” – West’s American Law Encyclopaedia.

These definitions make it clear that knowing about a crime in advance encouraging a crime, to be executed, and aiding in its planning and implementation can all qualify a person as an accomplice. An accomplice is nonetheless culpable of the crime even if he is not there when the said crime is committed.

Even if an accomplice is not a significant part of the crime, still he could be present at the scene. For instance, one person uses ropes to restrict the victim while the other uses a knife to stab them. In this scenario, the knife-bearer may be considered the main culprit, and the person who restricted the victim may be considered an accomplice. Whether they are present there, or not, they are equally responsible or guilty of the crime. As a result, an accomplice may face the same charges and penalties as the primary offender.

Key Elements That Differentiate Accomplice From Accessory:

  1. Aiding the crime

An accessory usually helps the main culprit before or after the crime, whereas, an accomplice is a person who helps the primary culprit both before and during the criminal act.

  1. Scene of Crime

An accomplice may or may not have been present at the crime scene, to assist the act, but accessories are not there when a crime is committed.

  1. Charges

The punishments and penalties that are levied on accomplice, may be similar to those of the principal offender, whereas, fewer charges and penalties are levied on an accessory.






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