Virginia Law on Principals in the Second Degree and Accessories Before the Fact: Va. Code 18.2-18

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According to Virginia law, except in limited circumstances an accomplice may be charged as if they actually committed the crime:
In the case of every felony, every principal in the second degree and every accessory before the fact may be indicted, tried, convicted and punished in all respects as if a principal in the first degree Virginia Code § 18.2-18
Any such accessory before the fact may be indicted either with such principal or separately. Virginia Code § 18.2-21
The primary difference between a Principal in the Second Degree, and an Accessory or Accomplice Before the Fact, is whether or not you are present during the commission of the underlying crime. A Principal in the Second Degree is present during the actual commission of the crime, whereas an Accessory Before the Fact is someone who has facilitated the commission of a crime beforehand in some material way, but is not present during the crime itself.

Do You Need An Attorney if Charged as an Accessory or Accomplice?

Yes. It is extremely important to get an attorney if you are charged as an accessory or accomplice. And more specifically, you should get your own attorney. In cases with accessories, it is likely deals will be offered to the defendants that help them, but hurt co-defendants, or require testimony that may be prejudicial to yourself. Even if co-defendants initially hire and share an attorney, it is likely that due to conflicts, they will have to seek separate counsel anyway. When a case involves someone charged as an accessory, working with the prosecutors and protecting your interests becomes much more complicated. A local attorney familiar with the courts and personal and all the more valuable in theses cases.

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Virginia and D.C. Federal Crimes

Federal Assault Crimes

Assault on Law Enforcement: 18 U.S.C. 111

Simple Assault: 18 U.S.C. 113

Assault with Intent to Commit Murder: 18 U.S.C. 111

Domestic Assault: 18 U.S.C. 117

Maiming: 18 U.S.C. 114

Murder: 18 U.S.C. 1111-1122

Kidnapping: 18 U.S.C. 1201-1204

Domestic Violence and Stalking: 18 USC 2261-2266

Transportation for Illegal Sexual Activity: 18 U.S.C. 2421-2429

Human Trafficking

Sex Crimes

Aggravated Sexual Abuse: 18 U.S.C. 2241

Sexual Abuse of a Minor: 18 U.S.C. 2243

Sexual Abuse: 18 U.S.C. 2242

Federal Driving Crimes

Reckless Driving: 32 CFR 263.6


Hit & Run

Federal White Collar Crimes

Embezzlement: 18 U.S.C. 641-670

Blackmail: 18 USC 873

Other Federal Crimes

Terrorism: 18 U.S.C. 2231-2339(d)

Riots: 18 U.S.C. 2101-2102

Federal Drug & Alcohol Crime

Drug Distribution and Trafficking

Marijuana Possession: 18 U.S.C. 844

Prescription Fraud

Federal Weapons Offenses

Felon in Possession of a Firearm: 18 U.S.C. 922(g)

Weapon used in crime of violence of drug trafficking: 18 U.S.C. 924(c)

Sale of Firearms without a License: 18 U.S.C. 922(a)

Sale of Illegal Firearms: 18 U.S.C. 922

Making False Statements when Purchasing Firearm: 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(6)

Illegal Possession of Firearm: 18 U.S.C. 922(o)

Federal Cyber/Computer Crimes

Child Pornography

Federal Punishment and Procedure

Bond Procedures

Federal Misdemeanors

Failure to Appear: 18 USC 3146

9 Steps in a Federal Criminal Case