At Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC, we provide a vigorous defense for those accused of assisting in a criminal act. Being an accessory to a crime, otherwise known as aiding and abetting, is when you know of the perpetrator’s unlawful action and you specifically intend to and do aid, facilitate, promote, encourage or instigate the perpetrator’s commission of the crime.
Aiding and abetting can include:
Knowing about a crime that will be committed and failing to report it, providing financial aid or shelter to the perpetrator of the crime either before or after the crime is committed, helping the perpetrator plan a crime, or offering advice to the perpetrator(s) of the crime.
To prove that someone is guilty of aiding and abetting, the People must prove:
The perpetrator committed the crime, the defendant knew that the perpetrator intended to commit the crime, before or during the commission of the crime, the defendant intended to aid and abet the perpetrator in committing the crime, and the defendant’s words or conduct did in fact aid and abet the perpetrator’s commission of the crime.
If the above requirements are proven, the defendant need not have actually been present when the crime was committed to be guilty of aiding and abetting.
Examples of aiding and abetting include driving the getaway car during a bank robbery or providing the perpetrator with the code to disable an alarm system on a residence or business he or she intended to burglarize. In both situations, you would be considered an accessory to the crime.
If a person aids and abets, but withdraws before the crime is committed, he or she is not guilty of that crime. To withdraw, a person must notify everyone else he or she knows is involved in the commission of the crime that he or she is no longer participating. The notification must be made early enough to prevent the commission of the crime. The person must also do everything reasonably within his or her power to prevent the crime from being committed. He or she does not have to actually prevent the crime.
The burden of proof falls on the People to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not withdraw. If the People have not met this burden, a jury cannot find the defendant guilty of aiding and abetting.
If a defendant is convicted of aiding and abetting, he or she could be facing court ordered counseling, community service, fines, imprisonment or jail time, restitution, or more.
If you were an accomplice in a crime and have been charged with aiding and abetting, contact Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC, immediately. An experienced lawyer can effectively negotiate with prosecutors and judges, often securing your freedom, or, at a minimum, have the charges against you reduced. We will work hard to direct the progression of your case in a way that leads to the best possible outcome on your behalf.