Did you know that it’s considered a crime if you fail to report a felony offense? The crime of Misprision of a felony happens when you are aware that someone has committed a felony offense and you fail to notify the authorities about the felony offense and go ahead and try to cover it. The crime law originated from the English common law, and it was adopted by the Supreme Court of the United States. Misprision of a felony law requires citizens to report crimes to the authorities or rather face criminal prosecution.
Due to the nature of severe and unjustified punishment that one could get just because of the failure of not reporting a criminal offense, many states have not included the Misprision of a felony in their criminal laws. They have opted to domesticate what Misprision of a felony would mean and incorporated it in other laws.
According to the United State Federal Law and pursuant to 18 U.S.C § 4, any individual who has knowledge of a felony offense and does not take any measure to report the issue to the authorities or acts in a manner to suggests he was trying to conceal it, shall be fined or be subjected to a not more than three years in prison.
When prosecuting such a case, the prosecutor shall convince the judge based on four key factors that indeed the defendant is guilty of Misprision of a felony. Therefore, the prosecutor must demonstrate that:
- The principal committed and completed the alleged offense
- The defendant was fully aware of that felony
- The defendant failed to notify the authorities
- The defendant took steps to conceal the crimes
A proper application of this section was used in the case of United States vs. Cefalu, 85 F.3d 964, 969 (2d Cir. 1996) citing United States v. Ciambrone, 750 F.2d 1416, 1417 (9th Cir. 1984); United States v. Baez, 732 F.2d 780, 782 (10th Cir. 1984).
Hiring an experienced NYC Misprision of a felony criminal lawyer will make your case much easier as he/she will be able to convince the judge beyond reasonable doubts you be charged with Misprision of a felony crime rather than the underlying crime such as extortion, drug distribution, which might lead to more stiffer penalties.
Misprision of a felony is a broad crime that can be interpreted in different ways. Although it can be applied to anyone, authorities usually press Misprision charges to a particular group of people who are charged with the responsibility of reporting a crime.
The most groups that fall under this category may range from prison guards to elected officials serving under various capacities both in federal and state governments. In some instances, the authorities might invoke the misprision of a felony when it comes to certain serious crimes such as terrorism to encourage everybody to report such criminal offenses.
Regarding the Fifth Amendment Exception, the court pronounced itself on this matter. The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination bars a misprision conviction if the defendant proves that he reasonably believed that if he informed the authorities, it could have resulted in his prosecution.
The crime of misprision of felony relates to that of Accessory as both offenses involve some affirmative actions that are aimed at covering the crime. The main difference between these two sets of offenses is the fact that in Misprision, the crime is still committed even if the defendant does not take part in the act and it’s considered a Misprision of a felony only when the crime has occurred, and the defendant has failed to report to the authorities.
Our experienced NYC criminal defense lawyers will provide you with a dedicated representation that will ensure that all your legal rights are protected, and justice is indeed served.
Our NYC criminal attorneys have vast knowledge and experience in representing clients who are faced with Misprision charges. Contact us today, and we will give you unmatched representation in your quest for justice.