An Illinois resident who knowingly helps or encourages another person to commit a crime may be an accomplice. However, this is generally only true if the individual knows what he or she is doing is wrong and has an intent to aid in the commission of a crime. There are several ways in which an individual may aid or abet a criminal.
For instance, that person may turn off an alarm to allow someone entrance to a building or drive a car to a specific location where a driver or passenger is attacked. Someone may loan a gun to another person knowing that the person borrowing it will use it to commit a crime.
The difference between being a conspirator and being an accomplice is that a conspirator actively works with one or more people to plan a future crime. An accomplice merely helps others commit the crime. People can be found guilty of conspiracy even if the crime in question never took place. Individuals can only be charged with being an accomplice to a crime if it actually occurs.
Anyone who is facing criminal charges such as conspiracy, being an accomplice to a crime or for any other offense may wish to speak with an attorney. It may be possible to create a defense to the charge that may reduce or eliminate all possible penalties a defendant may be facing. Examples of defenses to criminal charges may include proving a lack of intent to commit a crime or showing that an individual unknowingly took part in what turned out to be a criminal activity.