What Is Derivative Responsibility In Criminal Law?

A person who gets arrested for a crime is not always the person who actually committed the crime. In some cases, the police get it wrong and nab the wrong person entirely. In other cases, the police arrest and charge people with crimes for derivative responsibility, and here are a few things to know about this branch of law.

What is derivative responsibility?

Derivative responsibility is something in criminal law that refers to criminal charges for having some type of knowledge or part in a crime but not actually committing the crime itself. Any person who knows of a crime, helped plan a crime, hid information about a crime, or had any part in the crime itself could end up being charged with derivative responsibility. While the charges that fall into this category are not as serious as the charges of actually committing the crime, they are still highly serious and can still have serious consequences if convicted of a crime.

What are some examples of derivative responsibility?

There are a lot of different types of charges that fall into derivative responsibility, and one of these is called being an accessory to a crime. An example of this would be if you were driving a car to take a friend to rob a bank. While you did not actually rob the bank yourself, you were the driver of the car, so you could be charged with an accessory charge to the crime of robbery.

You can also be charged with a crime for hiding a criminal, lying to police about a crime or person involved with a crime, or concealing evidence for a criminal. Additionally, you can be charged with the crime of conspiring to commit a crime, which also falls into derivative responsibility, even if you never follow through with the actual crime itself. It is still a crime to conspire to commit a crime.

Why the court charges people for this?

Courts take crime and law seriously, and anyone who knows about a crime has the legal responsibility to tell the police about it. Concealing a person, knowledge, or evidence of a crime is illegal, and that is why courts charge people for crimes that are considered derivative responsibility.

Getting charged with a crime itself is not good, but getting charged with derivative responsibility is not good either. If you need help fighting criminal charges that are against you, contact a criminal defense attorney today.