Featured News 2018 What Is Aiding & Abetting

What Is Aiding & Abetting

If a person is charged with "aiding and abetting" it means that they are accused of being an accessory to a crime. When a person directly partakes in the committing of a crime, they are called a principal; however, when a person assists someone who commits a crime, they are called an accessory. An accessory who assists someone before a crime is carried out is considered to have "aided and abetted" the principal of the crime. If a person assists someone after a crime is completed, they will be charged as an "accessory after the fact."

What Is Considered Aiding & Abetting?

Aiding and abetting can be any number of actions that would help a criminal commit a crime.

The Ninth Judicial Circuit considers these actions to be aiding and abetting in a crime:

  • Aiding
  • Counseling
  • Commanding
  • Inducing
  • Procuring

Authorities believe that a charged accessory performed one of the mentioned actions to assist a person in committing an element of a crime. An aspect of an offense can be anything that put the act of the crime into motion.

Therefore, aiding and abetting casts a wide net across various criminal elements, including:

  • Planning the crime
  • Purchasing items for use in the offense
  • Encouraging the principal to commit the crime
  • Holding meetings or gatherings while knowing a crime is being planned

Aiding and abetting can be as simple as telling the principal that committing the crime is a good idea or as involved as buying a weapon used in a crime. In any case, aiding and abetting is a criminal charge, and acting as an accessory can result in a conviction of up to half of the convicted principal's sentence.

Due to the seriousness of an aiding and abetting charge, anyone charged as an accessory to a crime should contact a practicing criminal defense lawyer. An experienced defense lawyer will look through the case and find the flaws in the connections between the charged principal and the charged accessory. There are many reasons why aiding and abetting charges are dismissible in front of a judge, but having the right defense can spell the difference between a conviction and freedom.

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