How bad is it when you know that a crime has occurred and you don’t say anything about it? The old saying goes that snitches get stitches, but there can also be some unpleasant consequences for not speaking up about a crime, such as getting criminal charges for the misprison of a felony.
Misprision is also known as concealment of a felony or failure to report a crime. It would be a mistake to think that whether to report a crime is entirely up to your discretion unless you have evidence of a specific crime, such as when the law requires teachers to notify law enforcement if they reasonably believe that a child is suffering physical abuse by family members. Whether concealment of someone else’s crimes counts as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the circumstances; depending on how much you knew about the crime, you could even be charged with conspiracy. If it was a financial crime such as money laundering, you could even face RICO Act charges. If someone close to you is being accused of a crime, and you fear that you could be next, contact a Texas criminal defense lawyer.
Can You Get in Trouble for Your Romantic Partner’s Crimes?
This month, a woman in Texas must enter a plea in federal court for misprison of felonies. Her fiancé pleaded guilty earlier this year to bank fraud and identity theft after he admitted to filing fraudulent loan applications to obtain money from the Paycheck Protection Program, a COVID relief effort that provided emergency funding for small businesses in 2020 and 2021. She is being accused of using money that her fiancé obtained fraudulently and spending it on personal expenses and preparations for the couple’s wedding. The outcome of her case will depend on how successfully she can argue that she did not actively participate in the fraud or did not know about it.
Defenses to Allegations of Concealment of a Felony
If you are being accused of concealing the crimes of a family member or friend, you should consult a criminal defense lawyer. Do not let the police search your property unless they have a warrant. If you verbally consent to a search of your property, you cannot withdraw consent later. If the court summons you to give a deposition as a witness in a criminal investigation or in a civil case related to financial misconduct, you have the right to have a lawyer present, although the public defender’s office does not provide legal representation in these cases, as it does for defendants against whom an active criminal case is pending. Lying to the police is a big mistake. If you fear that telling the truth will cause you to get criminal charges, plead the Fifth Amendment.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing charges of concealing someone else’s financial crimes or acting as an accomplice. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, to discuss your case.