Aiding and Abetting
In the state of California, aiding and abetting is not a crime in and of itself, but a legal rule which could leave every individual who participated in committing a crime charged with a criminal offense, regardless of whether those involved actually perpetrated the crime. Even if someone with you actually committed all of the criminal acts on his or her own, you may be found guilty of the crime if you were aiding and abetting, or assisting another person so that the crime could be accomplished.
Essentially, if you assist in either planning to rob a bank or break into a home, or are the actual perpetrator's accomplice in such an act, you may be charged. This means that if convicted, you may face fines, probation, community service, jail time, and restitution. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles aiding and abetting lawyers possess the skill and experience to protect our clients from jail time and other serious criminal penalties.Elements Necessary to Prove Aiding and Abetting in California
No matter how minor or serious a criminal offense may seem, every person is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are accused of a certain crime due to aiding and abetting, the prosecutor in the case must prove that:
- The perpetrator did commit the crime
- The defendant (person charged with aiding and abetting) was fully aware that the perpetrator intended to commit the crime in question
- Prior to or during the crime being committed, you (the aider and abettor) intended to assist the perpetrator in the commission of the crime, and
- Your conduct or words did in fact aid and abet the perpetrator's commission of the crime
Because you were present at the scene where a crime was perpetrated does not mean you were aiding and abetting. In fact, prosecutors will frequently claim that your "mere presence" at the crime scene indicated that you appeared to be on the lookout for the perpetrator, or were there in a capacity to be additional "muscle."Los Angeles Criminal Penalties for Accomplice Liability
Also commonly referred to as accomplice liability, aiding and abetting someone who commits a crime means that those who were "in on" a crime may be prosecuted. By encouraging, facilitating, or aiding in the commission of a crime in any way, you may be criminally liable.
The criminal penalties if convicted for aiding and abetting someone who commits a crime will be the same as the actual perpetrator faces. For instance, if you were involved in a crime in which the victim was murdered, you may face punishment of life in prison, the same sentence which would likely be handed down to the actual perpetrator of the crime. If the perpetrator committed arson by setting fire to another person's property and you were an accomplice, you and the perpetrator may face up to three years in prison. The penalties you face depend on the actual crime committed.Contact The Justice Firm Today
If you have been accused of aiding and abetting or being an accomplice in the commission of a serious crime, it is critical you obtain the legal support and guidance of a seasoned Los Angeles criminal defense attorney right away. You may be facing substantial jail/prison time, fines, restitution, and more. Even worse for many is having a criminal record which can negatively affect various aspects of your life including your career, ability to obtain employment, obtaining housing or a student loan, and more. Our number one priority is protecting your legal rights and freedom; we will work vigorously to have charges dismissed, reduced, or to prevent a conviction if your case goes to trial. Contact us immediately for a free consultation at 310-914-2444.