If you witness a violent crime and do not report it?

and later during the investigation the police discover you saw the whole thing and are aware of who was involved (though you were in no way involved apart from seeing it happen), can you be charged with anything in regards to not coming forward with info in the first place?

Can the victim of the crime or the victim’s family sue you or anything because you did not come forward with information that would have led to the arrest of the people involved?
I am looking for actual answers, here .. I didn’t do any of this .. stick to the question, eh.

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9 Responses to “If you witness a violent crime and do not report it?”

  1. Liberal AssKicker said:

    At a minimum, I would beat you silly for being so heartless as to not call the police right away.

    If the victim dies, it’s on you.

  2. ka850 said:

    Legally, you may not be in trouble, but everyone will give you a hard time so it is stupid not to report such things.

  3. Saco von Zetti said:

    It really doesn’t matter at all beyond the word “if”, you are already a large portion of the crime that you have witnessed.

  4. herheartbeatson said:

    It is a crime if you are not reporting it or if you are with holding information. It is legally your job as a citizen to report those kind of things.

  5. Patrick D said:

    You can be charged with “depraved indifference.” I don’t know what kind of sentence it would carry, but it’s basically the People calling you a heartless coward.

  6. amazingly intelligent said:

    The only penalty you can expect is a guilty conscience for failing another human being and contributing to an unsafe community.

    You cannot legally be coerced into testifying about anything in this country. Unless you helped the criminals in some way to plan, execute or escape the crime (scene) you cannot be charged with anything or sued for anything.

  7. Janell T said:

    Put yourself in the victim’s shoes…how would you feel if a crime was being committed against you and someone saw it and never reported it.

  8. Chris said:

    Depends on the state, some states have created laws which allow the person who witness a crime which was being committed by someone who is unrelated to the witness to be fined around $100 for not reporting the crime. While it does not sound like $100 is a great deal of money, if you are convicted under this statute, a crime victim may sue YOU for the damages he or she sustained as a result of you not reporting the crime.

    For example: Say you witness a kidnapping in progress. You go about your day and don’t report the crime. Four hours later, the victim is raped. Because your inaction allowed the victims damages to be increased (from just the damages of the kidnapping to the damages of a kidnapping and a rape), you will be liable for the additional damages (rape).

  9. Dora Jarre said:

    No. Only if you refuse to help once the police question you in the investigation (obstruction of justice).

    Lawsuits are a tricky business. People can sue for anything – whether or not the have a valid case is another matter. The answer to this will vary wildly depending on the circumstances. But most likely, no.

    If there was an option to intervene and you didn’t, then maybe. I don’t know the answer, but the one area that might be of concern would be if the accused goes on to commit similar crimes, his ‘new’ victims’ families might be able to come after you. Not sure, though.


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