Responsibility of accomplices in a crime and features of its definition in the Russian Federation

Legal advice > Civil law > Responsibility of accomplices in a crime and the peculiarities of its definition in the Russian Federation

A subject of criminal law - in other words, a person who violates its norms - must always answer for the acts committed. Under some circumstances, the offender’s actions are fully conscious and active, while in others they are passive and unconscious. In any case, the person who violates criminal law must bear responsibility and be punished accordingly.

Today we’ll talk about punishments for accomplices in a crime, the general essence of illegal acts within the framework of complicity and their features according to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Interesting? Then be sure to read the material below to the end. We assure you that the information collected and correctly presented will be useful and interesting to everyone.

The essence and types of accomplices in crime

There are 4 types of accomplices in crime.

A crime in the jurisprudence of our country is any violation of the law that is potentially or directly dangerous to society and is punishable in accordance with criminal law. According to Article 33 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, all persons who at least partially participate in its implementation are recognized as accomplices of such an act. Naturally, they must be brought before the law and punished accordingly.

The already noted 33rd article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation defines four types of accomplices in a crime:

  • The direct perpetrator of a socially dangerous act (co-perpetrator) is a person or group of persons who have committed a criminal offense.
  • Organizer – a person or group of persons who organized the implementation of an illegal act.
  • An instigator is a person or group of persons who persuaded the perpetrator or perpetrators to commit a crime by persuasion, threat or other means.
  • An accomplice is any person or group of them who indirectly participates in an unlawful act and contributes to its implementation through their actions, but does not directly participate in it.

Since all accomplices of crimes participate to some extent in it, they are subject to criminal liability. As a rule, all subjects of a criminal offense “are subject to the same article.”

The only thing the court does is determine the type and severity of punishment for each type of accomplice on an individual basis, taking into account the particular characteristics of a particular crime. For the rest, both performers, organizers, instigators, and accomplices are completely equal in criminal law and are criminals who are punished accordingly.

Aiding fraud

Often, a crime such as fraud (Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) is committed by a criminal group, and not alone, where each member of the illegal group has their own role.

There is a main person - the performer, then there is the organizer - the person who thought through the fraudulent scheme and manages it. Also, a criminal group may include instigators and accomplices, that is, assistants in organizing and concealing the crime. The assistant is not present at the crime scene, but he helps remotely.

An accomplice in a fraud case must be tried under Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation . Punishment may vary depending on the level of involvement of the accomplice.

If the fraudulent scheme was not completed (law enforcement officers or investigators uncovered it in a timely manner), then all participants in the criminal process, including the accomplice, will be tried under Art. 66 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Punishment for an unfinished crime.”

Forms of complicity

Since a criminal offense is a complex phenomenon, considerable attention is paid to all aspects of its consideration. As for accomplices, here the legislator approached the regulation in more detail and defined not only their types, but also different forms of complicity. They mean the type of joint criminal activity of accomplices of a particular crime, in particular - methods of interaction, degree of coordination and similar factors.

The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in a number of articles determines that the forms of complicity can be:

  • Simple or complex. In the case of the first form, the commission of a crime occurs from the objective side of the act and all its participants (in other words, in a punishable criminal act there are only perpetrators or co-perpetrators). A complex form of complicity presupposes the presence of other types of accomplices such as organizer, instigator or accomplice.
  • Carried out by prior agreement or without it. In principle, everything here is extremely simple and requires no explanation. Let us note that crimes by prior conspiracy are punished noticeably more harshly than other types, since violation of the law by all subjects of a criminal act is deliberate and purposeful.

In the legislation of other countries, complicity in crimes is sometimes considered in more detail, highlighting a greater number of forms. In Russian jurisprudence, there are only noted forms of complicity, so one should rely on them.

Involvement in crime

Involved in the crime committed are not only accomplices, but also other people related to the crime. In domestic criminal law, such persons are called “touched” to the crime.

Involvement in crime is an attack on the opportunity to prevent or solve a crime. Unlike complicity, with implication, the actions of the offenders do not have a causal connection with the crime.

In this case, touchiness is divided into several types:

  1. Concealment (Article 316) – its main feature is considered to be the fact that it was not promised in advance. This behavior is detrimental to solving crimes.
  2. Connivance is the deliberate allowance of illegal actions.
  3. Failure to report illegal behavior (not provided for by the Criminal Code of Russia, but was present in the Code of the RSFSR - Article 19).

Some scientists and scientists believe that incitement should be considered another type of touching. This distinction is based on the fact that incitement involves inducing one person to another to commit an offense, while the instigator is not actively involved.

But today the list of types of touch is exhaustive.

Performer's kurtosis

The excess of the perpetrator is a part of the crime committed beyond the intent of the accomplices.

An integral component of the topic being discussed today is considered to be a phenomenon called excess of the performer. In the context of forensic analysis of specific crimes, it plays a critical role and significantly determines the degree of responsibility for specific accomplices. What is the excess of a performer?

In a general understanding, the excess of the perpetrator is that part of the crime that was committed by the perpetrator or their group without the intent of the other accomplices. When determining the punishment for the remaining accomplices of the act, with the exception of the perpetrators, such aspects are not taken into account. To understand the essence of kurtosis, let us pay attention to the following example:

“A group of criminals, consisting of a perpetrator, an organizer and an assistant, committed car thefts. During the criminal activity, the group stole about 10 cars until they were caught. While carrying out one of the crimes, the perpetrator hit a woman, who received serious injuries. Naturally, this criminal act was considered for the perpetrator separately from his accomplices in car theft and added to his punishment in the final court verdict.”

It is this phenomenon that is called the excess of the performer. In principle, it is not difficult to understand its essence, especially in the example presented above.


In the legal literature, it is customary to classify complicity into intellectual and physical. Intellectual participation includes:

  • recommendations for committing an offense, that is, advice;
  • instructions for performing specific actions for the successful implementation of the plan;
  • providing any useful information regarding persons, facts, circumstances, phenomena and events;
  • a promise of assistance in hiding the criminal himself or the funds or property he used;
  • promise of assistance in selling or purchasing stolen property.

An accomplice becomes an accomplice in a crime only if the perpetrator took advantage of the information or advice received from him. If this does not happen, then there is no important sign of complicity - joint activity. Therefore, the adviser is not subject to punishment. A promise made in advance, on the contrary, is already considered a committed offense, even if it is subsequently not fulfilled.

Physical complicity consists of committing specific actions aimed at preparing for a crime. If intellectual assistance strengthens the determination to accomplish what is planned, then physical assistance directly contributes to this. It may consist of:

  • in the presentation of means (tools, vehicles, special clothing, etc.);
  • in removing obstacles (breaking the door, obtaining the consent of officials, turning off the alarm, etc.).

In practice, it is quite difficult to clearly distinguish one type of complicity from another. They are closely interconnected. In addition, an accomplice can act in several roles, for example, first as an instigator, and then as an organizer. One thing is certain - he does not directly participate in the execution of those actions that constitute the objective side of the charged crime.

Liability for physical complicity can only arise when there is a direct connection between the commission of unlawful acts and the assistance provided. If the criminal did not take advantage of it, then there can be no talk of complicity.


The responsibility of accomplices in a crime is determined privately; in other words, it directly depends on the characteristics of a particular case involving the commission of a criminal offense. The procedure for determining punishment for criminals involves appropriate judicial debate, which could not have been mentioned. In the process of considering a crime and rendering a verdict on punishment for its accomplices, the court takes into account:

  1. The provisions of Chapter 7 on complicity in a crime and the characteristics of this phenomenon.
  2. Circumstances, features of a specific crime and relevant articles of the Criminal Code.

As noted earlier, all accomplices in socially dangerous acts are subject to one type of liability, and it is always criminal. Equally punishment. in accordance with criminal law. susceptible to:

  • direct perpetrators of the crime;
  • its organizers;
  • instigators and accomplices.

The only thing that the court has the right to do and always does is determine the degree and significance of the complicity of each subject of a particular criminal offense. Taking them into account, some groups of accomplices may receive less serious punishment than their accomplices. In any case, all accomplices of criminal acts will be punished in accordance with the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. You shouldn't forget about this.

Note! The form and type of complicity of specific persons in a crime are determined by the courts based on a number of factors. Common to all subjects of criminal law is the presence of a crime and the direct fact of its implementation. There may be different reasons for certain types of accomplices. So, regarding the instigator, one cannot do without defining the elements of incitement, regarding the accomplice - the type of complicity, and so on.

Distinction from incitement

Along with aiding and abetting, the law also classifies incitement as complicity in committing socially dangerous criminal acts.
It is understood as inducing a person who will then become a perpetrator or even an organizer of a crime to commit it. At first glance, the functions of an instigator and an accomplice are similar - this is information support. However, there are a number of significant differences. Firstly, in the content of information. For example, the advice and instructions of the instigator will contain a proposal to perform one or another illegal action. The accomplice will give advice of a consulting nature: how to carry out the plan, hide traces, avoid consequences. And he will give them to someone who already has the intention of breaking the law.

Secondly, the instigator often uses threats, bribery, blackmail or other violent methods aimed at coercing the commission of criminal acts. The function of an accomplice is fundamentally different; he has no need to threaten or intimidate. It provides help and support in preparation for and after a crime.

Features of voluntary refusal of accomplices

Voluntary refusal is not a reason for 100% avoidance of criminal liability.

After considering the general principles of determining liability for accomplices in a crime, let us turn our attention to the possibility of their voluntary refusal. What is he? In fact, a kind of refusal to commit a crime as an accomplice.

You can refuse in different ways, but often it all comes down to notifying authorized structures about a future socially dangerous act or personally preventing it on the part of a former accomplice.

According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, the voluntary refusal of the subjects of a crime to commit it allows:

  1. Directly prevent a socially dangerous act and its possible results.
  2. Avoid responsibility or significantly mitigate it in time for a person who comes to his senses and has not set foot on the path of the criminal world.

Let us note that the voluntary refusal of an accomplice in criminal law does not accept all types of non-participation of a citizen in a crime. To avoid or mitigate liability, an accomplice must:

  • Completely or partially prevent a crime.
  • Notify the authorities accordingly.

If a certain person does not carry out such actions and simply withdraws from the list of accomplices of a particular crime, after its implementation he can be punished in the same way as his direct subjects. Of course, liability will be imposed only if the court has substantial grounds for it.

Liability for petty theft

If the theft is committed for the first time, and the value of the stolen property does not exceed 2,500 rubles, the thief is subject to administrative rather than criminal liability. In such cases, a protocol is drawn up under Art. 7.27 Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation. The punishment in this case is assigned to your choice:

  • - in the form of a fine from 1000 rubles to 5 times the value of the stolen property;
  • — administrative arrest for up to 15 days;
  • — compulsory work up to 120 hours;

Note! If, after drawing up a protocol against a citizen under Part 2 of Art. 7.27 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, he will be convicted of petty theft again, then liability may be criminal - under Art. 158.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Is it possible to avoid punishment

An accomplice to a crime can only escape punishment in one way. Naturally, we are talking about the voluntary refusal just discussed. With its timely and correct implementation, a former accomplice to a criminal offense can:

  • or be completely freed from responsibility;
  • or do it partially.

Let us note that the very fact of voluntary refusal does not guarantee the absence of criminal liability for a person who has “recovered” from a crime. The possibility of excluding punishment or mitigating it is determined individually for each accomplice, taking into account the characteristics of his particular situation.

Under other circumstances, it is irrational for accomplices to avoid punishment or even hope for its mitigation. As noted earlier, all types of subjects of criminal acts are subject to liability corresponding to their actions. Let us repeat, the determination of its degree depends on the characteristics of specific situations and is carried out privately by the court.

Exemption from sanctions

It is provided for in Article 31 (Part 4). An accomplice is not held accountable if he has taken all necessary and dependent measures to prevent the attack. Some authors argue with lawyers who admit the possibility of voluntary refusal by a person participating in an encroachment through a promise given in advance, through passive behavior. To be released from liability, an accomplice must take measures to eliminate the consequences of his actions. Accordingly, the subject who promised in advance to provide assistance must neutralize participation in the crime by returning the word given earlier. This can only be achieved through active actions. Article 33, part 4, of the Model Criminal Code recommends excluding from the list of accused citizens who refused to the perpetrator the assistance promised in advance before the end of the crime or who eliminated the results of the assistance provided.

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