Should You Take the Fall for a Friend?

Posted by Doug Murphy | Mar 03, 2023 | 0 Comments

Being arrested is almost always a frightening and sometimes even traumatic experience. But if you're completely innocent of the crime the police are accusing you of, and you know who did it, it can be even more so. You may wonder what you should say and whether you should be loyal and just keep your mouth shut. In some cases, knowing about a friend's crimes can also be a crime if you knowingly aided in some way or were present at the crime scene. Unless you want to go to jail, you must speak to an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Were You an Accomplice?

Before you simply tell the police, “I didn't do this, but I know who did,” you should speak to an attorney. In some cases, if you were present at the scene, you may be considered an accomplice and guilty of the charged crime or a similar crime. For example, if you're out with friends and one of them decides to smash a store window, your friend may be guilty of criminal mischief or a similar crime in Texas, and you may be blameless. But if you encouraged them to smash the window, handed them a large rock to throw, acted as a lookout, or helped or advised in any way, you could also be guilty of criminal mischief. It's always a good idea to talk to an attorney before you talk to the police to ensure you don't unknowingly implicate yourself in a crime.

Were You an Accessory to the Crime?

In other cases, even if you weren't present at the scene of the crime, if you gave aid, knowingly or unknowingly, before or after the crime, the police may charge you as well. In Texas, if you knew about the crime before it happened and gave any assistance to prepare to commit it, you may be an “accessory before the fact.” If you don't know about the crime ahead of time, but you give assistance in the aftermath, you may be an “accessory after the fact.” The charge you may face as an accessory before or after the fact is often called “aiding and abetting.” For example, if your friends plan to rob a bank and say you want nothing to do with it, but you loan them your car, you could be an accessory before and after the crime.

Conspiracy and Attempt to Commit a Conspiracy

If you help your friends plan a crime, even if the two of you don't actually commit it, or if they go off and commit the crime without you, you could still be guilty of conspiracy. Under Texas law, conspiracy requires that one or more people agree to engage in conduct that would be a crime, and one or more of them performs an overt act in furtherance of the crime. When this happens, each person involved in the planning can face conspiracy charges, even if they never actually committed the crime. See Tex. Crim. Code § 15.02 (1994).

You Need an Expert in Criminal Defense Law

If you're facing charges for a crime your friend committed, particularly if you were there or you may have aided in some way, you need the advice of an expert in criminal defense law immediately. Attorney Doug Murphy is an expert in Criminal Defense Law and DWI Defense in Texas. Moreover, he's one of only two attorneys in Texas who is Board Certified in both Criminal Defense and DWI Defense, ensuring you get the experience you need to aggressively defend you.

U.S. News & World Report's Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug to their prestigious 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” list for Houston DWI defense. Give the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C., a call at 713-229-8333, or contact them online to schedule your consultation.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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