compounding a felony

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Compounding a felony is the offense committed by a victim of a crime, by agreeing not to prosecute the felon or suppress the evidence against them, in exchange for money or some other form of compensation. This is a crime punishable by imprisonment or fine. Compounding a felony has been defined by most states in their state statutes. 

For example:

  • Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 36 of Section 268, defines compounding a felony as:
    • "Whoever, having knowledge of the commission of a felony, takes money, or a gratuity or reward, or an engagement therefor, upon an agreement or understanding, express or implied, to compound or conceal such felony, or not to prosecute therefor, or not to give evidence thereof, shall, 
      • if such crime is punishable with death or imprisonment in the state prison for life, be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or in jail for not more than one year; 
      • and if such crime is punishable in any other manner, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment in jail for not more than two years."
  • California Penal Code Section 153 also defines compounding a felony and the consequent punishment for it. 

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]