Aiding and Abetting Family Could Land You in Trouble

Class 4 felony, Illinois criminal defense attorney, criminal charges,Helping a family member can come naturally to a lot of people, even when helping the family member includes helping him or her avoid arrest, but you could be accused of aiding and abetting. It might not seem like a big deal to give a family member or a friend money for bus ticket so he or she can get out of town to get away from the police. You could be helping because you believe he or she is innocent, or because you don’t think he or she should go to jail, even if guilty. Whatever the reason, before you offer any assistance, remember that it is against Illinois law to help a person avoid arrest or a police investigation. The law distinguishes between certain groups of people who can be prosecuted for offering this kind of help.

Felony Charges for Helping a Person Avoid Arrest

Generally, every adult over the age of 18 years old who intends to prevent an arrest or detainment of an offender, and therefore tries to help him or her flee the jurisdiction, is guilty of a Class 4 felony. Assisting in this sense is doing an intentional act, such as buying a train ticket or providing financial assistance, intending to help the offender leave the city, county, state, or even country to avoid arrest or prosecution.

In addition, a person who participates in aiding and abetting by intending to keep an offender from being arrested, keeps knowledge of a crime secret, hides an offender, or helps the offender avoid arrest, also commits a Class 4 felony. This section of the law applies to every adult person, except certain family members. Parents, spouses, and siblings of the offender are excluded from this section of the law.

Other crimes besides aiding and abetting also exist, including obstructing justice, for helping a family member or friend escape the police. A person can be charged with obstruction of justice for doing any of the following;

  • Destroying, changing, hiding or disguising physical evidence, planting false evidence or giving false information;
  • Convincing or encouraging a material witness to leave the state or hide; or
  • If knowing anything material to the case, the person leaves the state or hides him or herself.

Obstructing justice is also a Class 4 felony, unless the obstructing justice is related to gang activity; in that case, it is a Class 3 felony.

The penalties for a Class 4 felony in Illinois can be one to three years imprisonment, and may include fines of up to $25,000. If convicted of a Class 3 felony, an individual can be sentenced to two to five years in prison. In some cases, probation may be available.

Contact an Illinois Criminal Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime for aiding and abetting a family member avoid arrest, contact an experienced Naperville criminal defense attorney to handle your defense. At Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC we zealously represent our clients to ensure the best results.