A person who, knowingly, contributes to the commission of a crime could be held liable as an accessory to the crime. An accessory does not need to be present or actively participate in the commission of the crime. It is enough that the party has commanded, encouraged, instigated, or concealed. Generally the punishment for a convicted accessory is not as severe as that for the perpetrator. While statutes vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, an accessory may withdraw from the crime by denouncing the plans, refusing to assist with the crime, contacting the police, or trying to stop the crime from occurring.
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