Can you be held responsible for crimes committed by members of your family?


As the old saying goes, blood is thicker than water. Family members stay together and support each other no matter what. But what if a family member commits a crime? Will family members be held responsible for the illegal activity committed? The law has specific rules on criminal liability. However, interpretation of the law can sometimes be tricky.

If you are facing criminal charges, contact an expert like McNally Law – Lawyer Patrick Mcnally should be a priority. Everyone has the right to have a lawyer. Especially for criminal charges that don’t just threaten you and your family’s freedom and reputation. If you’re worried about being held responsible for the crimes of a family member, here’s what the law has to say.

Criminal liability in different contexts

Organized crime

The law defines organized crime as a group of at least three individuals planning to commit a crime or series of crimes in order to earn money. Although criminal families include other members, mobs and mafias often consist of generations of family members. Under the law, a person participating in organized crime can be charged. This regardless of their role in the organization, of knowledge of other members, and even if they are generally not part of the group. Understanding and active participation in planning and execution is enough to hold responsibility.

Accomplice of a crime

Sometimes becoming an accomplice to a crime can be a tricky story. Generally, knowledge and active participation in the crime committed holds you accountable. However, you can be charged with the exact criminal charges if you act in favor of the crime even without prior intent.

Planning a crime with other people is a different context. The law may consider you an accomplice in a crime even if you did not personally commit it or if the plan never came to fruition. This type of crime is called conspiracy and is always punished by law.

Host a fleeing family member

Different states have laws on accommodating a fleeing family member. Under federal law, anyone who hides a guaranteed criminal or prevents its discovery is already guilty of a felony. If the offense of the requested person is qualified as an offense, the penalty for obstructing arrest is less than one year in prison. If the fugitive has committed a crime, the sentence increases to two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $ 10,000.

Some states are implementing an exemption to accommodate cases involving family members. Fourteen states declare a criminal exemption to harbor a fugitive if they are linked. The law defines a family member as a spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent or child. Other states do not completely release the family member from criminal responsibility but are given reduced sentences instead.

The concept of parental responsibility

Parents have a legal obligation for the actions of their children. Generally, parents are responsible for the activities, damages and neglect of their children. The scope of this obligation begins when the child reaches the age of 8 to 10 years and ends when he reaches the age of majority.

Parental civil liability

Parental liability is the responsibility of parents for the non-criminal offense of their child. This type of obligation generally relates to property damage and requires financial compensation. This law aims above all to compensate the victims and avoid leaving them any burden. It also encourages parental control and prevents neglect.

Parental criminal responsibility

In some cases, parents are also held responsible for offenses committed by their child. This responsibility concerns the possible “contribution of the parent to the delinquency of a minor”. One example is that parents can be held responsible for negligence leading to access to a firearm. Several American states have adapted this law today.

At the end of the line

Identifying one’s criminal responsibility for crimes committed by others can be confusing. Since different states in the United States have their governing laws, it is important to have a well-versed and experienced lawyer if necessary. Understanding the basics of the law and knowing your rights are some of the things that can guide you in an unprecedented situation.


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