Have you ever been offered an opportunity to assist in a crime? Perhaps a friend or family member asked for your help in committing theft or robbery. If you had any influence in committing the crime, either by assisting in its planning, being an active participant or ordering others to commit the crime, you can be found guilty of aiding and abetting and could be facing severe punishment.
Under California Penal Code Section 31, you can be prosecuted for a crime that is committed by another person even if you did not directly participate in that crime if you were found to have aided and abetted the crime.
Aiding and Abetting a Crime –PC 31
- The perpetrator committed the crime;
- You knew that the perpetrator intended to commit the crime;
- Before or during the commission of the crime, you intended to aid and abet the perpetrator in committing the crime; and
- Your words or conduct aided and abetted the perpetrator’s commission of that crime.
For example, you and your friend decide to rob a bank. Your friend actually commits the robbery inside of the bank while you wait outside and act as the getaway driver. Even though you did not personally commit the robbery and only drove the car, you can still be charged for robbery under the principle of aiding and abetting.
Aiders and abettors are not only equally responsible for their intended criminal activity, but also for any crimes that are the natural and probable consequence of their actions.
For example, during the bank robbery, your friend shoots and kills a bank teller. Though you may not have thought anyone would be killed during the bank robbery, you would still face a murder charge because the shooting was a natural and probable consequence of the original armed robbery crime.
What is the Punishment for Aiding and Abetting a Crime?
The punishment for aiding and abetting a crime depends on the crime you are charged for. As an aider and abettor before or during the crime, you will be regarded as a participant in the crime and face the same penalties as if you actually committed the offense.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of aiding and abetting a crime, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in defending persons charged of aiding and abetting crimes in Southern California. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.