Difference between accessory and accomplice


The terms "accessory" and "accomplice" often sound similar, but they have crucial legal distinctions in both common law and Indian legal systems. Here's a breakdown:


  • Definition: An individual who actively participates in or helps plan and execute a crime alongside the principal offender(s).
  • Presence at the scene: May or may not be present at the crime scene itself.
  • Level of involvement: Can provide assistance throughout the crime's planning, execution, or escape.
  • Punishment: Typically faces similar charges and penalties as the principal offender, depending on their exact role and level of knowledge.


  • Definition: An individual who indirectly assists a crime after it has been committed, generally without being present at the scene.
  • Awareness: Typically has knowledge that a crime has occurred and intentionally helps the perpetrator.
  • Level of involvement: Provides help after the crime, such as hiding the offender, destroying evidence, or providing transportation.
  • Punishment: Usually faces lesser charges and penalties than an accomplice, but the severity depends on the specific act of assistance and their knowledge of the crime.

Share this story

WhatsApp Channel Join Now