If someone’s mother knows their daughter is doing something illegal, could that mother end up being charged with something for knowing and not reporting it?

Asked on November 14, 2014 under Criminal Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Certain crimes, like child sexual abuse, often obligate people to report them. Generally, though, there is no obligation to report another's crime--or rather, no obligation to report another adult's crime. If the daughter is a minor, while the mother might nto be liable for the crime itself, she could be charged with some child- or guardian-related crime, like child neglect or abuse, for not taking action. Furthermore, the mother of  minor who commits a crime might have to pay a fine or court costs for the minor, and could sued by the victim(s) of the crime(s).

Furthermore, if the mother helps *in any way*, she could be charged as an accomplice. So say the daughter keeps drugs in the mother's home and/or deals out of the home; if the mother allows that to happen, she could be charged as an accomplice or conspirator. (Same thing if the mother lets the daughter keep illegal weapons or stolen goods at the home.)

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