Legal Dictionary

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Accessory

An accessory is an individual who assists in or encourages the commission of a crime. An accessory to a crime is not usually present when the crime is committed. If the assistance or encouragement occurs prior to the commission of the crime, the individual is an “accessory before the fact.” For example, if Frank lends Joe his car so Joe can commit a robbery, Frank is an accessory to the robbery. He would also be referred to as an “accessory before the fact.”