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Can I Be Held Accountable for a Crime That Someone Else Committed?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney

When it comes to the people responsible for a crime, in some cases, it can be more than just the offender who is held responsible for the commission of the crime. This is the basic idea behind the concept of criminal accountability. In the state of Illinois, it is legal for a person to be arrested and charged for simply knowing about a crime that someone else committed. While this may seem unfair, the law of accountability has actually helped Illinois law enforcement with the prosecution of criminal organizations and gang members. However, the law of accountability can also unfairly and unjustly convict innocent people of crimes that they did not commit and should not be accountable for.

What Is the “Law of Accountability” in Illinois?

Many states across the country, including Illinois, have created laws that are known as accountability laws, which allows the state to convict individuals of crimes that they did not commit, but that they were “accessories” to or “passive participants” in. Specifically, the Illinois Criminal Code states that a person is legally accountable for the actions of another person when they have the intent to promote or facilitate the commission of a crime and they aid, abet, agree, or attempt to aid another person in the planning or commission of the offense.

The Common Criminal Design Rule

Perhaps one of the most significant parts of the accountability law is the common criminal design rule contained in the law. This rule states that after two or more people group up and engage in a “common criminal design or agreement,” any acts committed by a person in that group can be considered to be the acts of all of the people. Everyone could be held equally responsible for the actions of one person if they were found to have played a larger role than just a “mere presence” during the commission of the offense. 

Contact Our Arlington Heights, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

In the state of Illinois, you can be held accountable for a crime, even if you did not directly commit it. If you have been arrested and charged with aiding, abetting, conspiring, or otherwise being involved with the commission of a crime, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law, has been working in the criminal justice field for more than 25 years and has a decade’s worth of experience as a prosecutor in the Cook County Criminal Courts. Schedule a free consultation with Attorney Anderson by calling our office today at 847-253-3400. 

 

Sources:

https://restorejustice.org/about-us/resources/know-more/know-more-law-of-accountability/

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HTit%2E+II&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=6100000&SeqEnd=9900000

 

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