ac·ces·so·ry also ac·ces·sa·ry /ik-'se-sə-rē, ak-/ n pl -ries [Medieval Latin accessorius subordinate matter, accomplice to a crime, from Latin accedere to go to, agree, assent]
1: a person who is not actually or constructively present but with criminal intent contributes as an assistant or instigator to the commission of a felony – called also accessory before the fact; compare principal in the second degree at principal
◇ The traditional distinction between accessories before the fact and principals, that accessories were not present and principals were present at the commission of the crime, is not recognized under most modern state statutes. Accessories before the fact are usu. considered principals.
2: a person who knowing that a felony has been committed aids, assists, or shelters the offender with the intent to defeat justice – called also accessory after the fact;
◇ Many state statutes now omit the term accessory after the fact and instead characterize the accessory as having committed a particular offense, such as obstructing justice.
3: the crime of being an accessory
— usu. used with to and specifying the crime
convicted of murder and accessory to murder — H. B. Zobel ; compare substantive crime
ac·ces·so·ry·ship n

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

I noun abettor, accomplice, accomplice in crime, advisor, aider, assistant, coconspirator, codirector, collaborator, confederate, confrere, conscius, consociate, cooperator, copartner, coworker, culpae socius, encourager, fellow conspirator, helper, helpmate, partaker, particeps criminis, participant, participator, partner, partner in crime, planner, socius criminis associated concepts: accessory after the fact, accessory before the fact, accessory contract, accessory during the fact, accessory obligation, accessory to a crime, accessory to an offense, aiding and abetting, principal foreign phrases:
- Accessorium non ducit, sed sequitur suum principale. — That which is the accessory or incident does not lead, but follows its principals
- Accessorius sequitur naturam sui principales. — An accessory follows the nature of his principal, thus, an accessory can not be found guilty of a greater crime than his principal.
- Cujus juris est principale, ejusdem juris erit accessorium. — He who has jurisdiction of the principal thing also has jurisdiction of the accessory
- Nullus dicitur accessorius post feloniam, sed ille qui novit principalem feloniam fecisse, et ilium receptavit et comfortavit. — No one is called an "accessory" after the fact but the one who knew the principal had committed a felony, and who received and comforted him
- Omne principale trahit ad se accessorium. — Every principal thing draws the accessory to itself
- Quae accessionum locum obtinent, extinguuntur cum principales res peremp tae fuerint. — When the principal thing is destroyed, those things which are accessory to it are also destroyed
- Res accessoria sequitur rem principalem. — An accessory follows the principal
- Ubi non est principalis, non potest esse accessorius. — Where there can be no principal, there cannot be an accessory
II index abettor, accomplice, addition, additional, adjunct, ancillary (auxiliary), appendix (accession), appliance, appurtenance, appurtenant, assistant, attachment (thing affixed), augmentation, circumstantial, clerical, coactor, coadjutant, coconspirator, codicil, cohort, collateral (accompanying), colleague, confederate, consociate, conspirer, contributor (contributor), contributory, copartner (coconspirator), expendable, extrinsic, incident, incidental, inferior (lower in position), minor, nonessential, participant, partner, secondary, subordinate, subservient, supplementary

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

(1) Something added to another object as a decoration or to make it more useful.
(2) Someone who helps another person commit a crime.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

Someone who intentionally helps another person commit a felony by giving advice before the crime or helping to conceal the evidence or the perpetrator. An accessory is usually not physically present during the crime. For example, hiding a robber who is being sought by the police might make someone an "accessory after the fact" to a robbery. Compare: accomplice
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

1 Additional; aiding the principal design; contributory; secondary; subordinate; supplemental.
2 One who aids or contributes to the commission or concealment of a crime or assists others in avoiding apprehension for the crime but not present when the crime was committed. Mere silence or approval of the crime is insufficient to make one an accessory; the person must take steps to facilitate the commission or concealment of the crime or the avoidance of the criminal's capture.
@ accessory after the fact
One who was not at the scene of a crime but knowingly assists, comforts, or receives a person known to have committed a crime or to be sought for the commission or attempted commission of a crime, in an attempt to hinder or prevent the felon's arrest or punishment. Such a person is normally regarded as less culpable than the criminal and is subject to prosecution for obstruction of justice.
@ accessory before the fact
One who assists, commands, counsels, encourages, or procures another to commit a crime, but is not present when the crime is committed. Such a person, known as an aider and abettor, is normally considered as culpable as the person who actually commits the crime and is normally treated by the law as an accomplice.
See also aid and abet.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

Aiding or contributing in a secondary way or assisting in or contributing to as a subordinate.
In criminal law, contributing to or aiding in the commission of a crime. One who, without being present at the commission of an offense, becomes guilty of such offense, not as a chief actor, but as a participant, as by command, advice, instigation, or concealment; either before or after the fact or commission.
One who aids, abets, commands, or counsels another in the commission of a crime.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

Aiding or contributing in a secondary way or assisting in or contributing to as a subordinate.
In criminal law, contributing to or aiding in the commission of a crime. One who, without being present at the commission of an offense, becomes guilty of such offense, not as a chief actor, but as a participant, as by command, advice, instigation, or concealment; either before or after the fact or commission.
One who aids, abets, commands, or counsels another in the commission of a crime.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   a second-string player who helps in the commission of a crime by driving the getaway car, providing the weapons, assisting in the planning, providing an alibi, or hiding the principal offender after the crime. Usually the accessory is not immediately present during the crime, but must be aware that the crime is going to be committed or has been committed. Usually an accessory's punishment is less than that of the main perpetrator, but a tough jury or judge may find the accessory just as responsible.
   See also: aid and abet

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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