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What is an accessory after the fact?

Tennessee laws surrounding sex crimes are tough. From jail time to fines to required registration as a sex offender, the list of penalties can go on and on. If you know a person who has been charged with a sex crime in Tennessee you may have witnessed the long-term effect of the penalties up close. In fact, you may even be at risk of being charged with a crime yourself even if you did not directly participate in an act that may be deemed a sex crime. How is this possible?

Under Tennessee law, there is a provision that identifies what is known as an accessory after the fact. According to the State of Tennessee statute, a person accused of being an accessory to a sex crime after the fact faces a charge that is a Class E felony.

As the name implies, an accessory after the fact is someone who may aid and abet a sexually related crime after it has occurred. There are specific definitions about the type of aid that may lead to this charge. They generally involve helping a person hide or otherwise avoid the law after having committed an act that may be considered an illegal sex crime. Even giving a person a tip-off that authorities may be on the way may be considered being an accessory after the fact. Another integral component is that the person accused of being the accessory is said to have conscious knowledge or to reasonably believe that a sex crime may have occurred.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but instead is meant to give Tennessee residents basic information on what may be considered an accessory after the fact relating to a sex crime under state law.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association
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