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An accessory is a person who assists in the perpetration or commission of a crime, whether or not the accessory is present during its commission. An accessory before the fact contributes to, assists or instigates the crime, while an accessory after the fact knows that the crime has been committed and helps the defendant flee or cover up its evidence.

Though the term is still used in law, accessories before the fact are typically charged as co-conspirators or accomplices, while accessories after the fact are typically charged with the crime of obstruction of justice.