The Liability Of A Person Who Has Helped A Friend Commit A Crime

Persons who have helped or provided assistance to a friend or family member who is committing a crime may not know that they can be charged for a crime called abetting or aiding. Even if the idea of committing a crime is not yours or the role you played is only small, you can still be criminally liable. If you have recently abetted a person to commit a crime, your best option is to seek legal assistance from a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. 

Aiding, abetting, and being an accessory to a crime are often used interchangeably but the terms actually differ from each other. 

  • Aiding means assisting, supporting, or helping another person in committing a crime. 
  • Abetting is encouraging, inciting, or inducing another person to commit a crime. 
  • Meanwhile, an accessory to a crime means that you have aided and abetted to support a person’s commission of a crime. Accessory is often distinguished as “after the fact” or “before the fact.” This means that a person has provided assistance to a crime before or after it was committed. 

Aiding and abetting are against the law for the simple reason that you are helping another person in committing a crime. For example, you have allowed a friend or family member to keep stolen goods inside your home, property, or vehicle. You can also be charged with abetting and aiding if you have shared information with a person so that he can carry out a robbery while no one is present in the victim’s residence. 

A person can also be charged with conspiracy if the degree of involvement in aiding and abetting the commission of a crime is great enough. There are states that charge a person with conspiracy if he is directly or significantly involved in planning and concealing a crime. For example, you tipped a friend that your neighbour usually leaves the side door of his garage open knowing that the friend will steal the valuable tools stored in the garage. 

Aiding, abetting and accessory charges require proof that the accomplice has knowledge that a crime is going to be committed. Even if the accomplice learns of the crime after it has been committed, if he has helped the person commit a crime, he can still be charged for aiding, abetting, or as an accessory regardless of whether he approves or disapproves of the crime. There are states like Missouri where the accomplice is considered as guilty as the person who has actually committed the offense.  

There is always the burden of proving guilt but it is critical for a person is accused of aiding and abetting the commission of a crime to convince the judge or jury that he was not involved in the crime. Penalties for this offense are based on several factors like the seriousness of the crime, criminal history, and other pertinent factors. 

If you are arrested or investigated for allegedly aiding someone to commit a crime, you need to call Jag Virk lawyers as soon as possible. Conviction for this offense includes jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can ruin your future.