California’s penal code 31 PC defines the criminal activity referred to as aiding and abetting. This is a crime punishable by law, and it is defined as the act of encouraging, facilitating, or aiding in the commission of any crime. Aiding and abetting is, in the eyes of California lawmakers, no better than committing the crime yourself. It doesn’t matter whether the crime is a felony crime or a mere misdemeanor. You face the same penalties and punishments as the person who is guilty of committing the crime in the first place. California law sometimes refers to aiding and abetting as accomplice liability if that helps you understand the law a little better.
How does aiding and abetting work?
The law is simple. If you help someone commit a crime whether you were personally present for the crime, you are guilty of committing the crime. The most famous example is a classic bank robbery. If your brother plans on robbing a bank and asks you to drive him, it doesn’t matter if you know he’s robbing the bank or not. He might tell you and get you to agree to drive him home. He might not tell you until he’s robbed the bank and you are ready to leave and you still drive him home.
Bother are aiding and abetting, and both are punishable to the full extent of California law. The law only requires some small type of involvement in the aiding and abetting of a criminal who engages in illegal activity. You might not use drugs or sell drugs but if you know your best friend needs to stop and drop off some drugs he sold to someone else, you are aiding and abetting him in several crimes though you don’t condone this behavior.
If you’re confused about the difference between aiding and abetting and conspiracy, there need not be an agreement between any two people to commit a crime to be guilty of aiding and abetting. If you agree to it first, you could be guilty of conspiracy in addition to aiding and abetting.
Penalties for Aiding and Abetting
There’s not a set list of penalties for someone who aids and abets because the penalties are handed out based on the crime committed. The person who is guilty of aiding and abetting is guilty of the same crime as the person who committed the crime, ad they face the same charges and penalties. This means the person guilty of aiding and abetting can be charged with a misdemeanor if they are first-time robbery offenders who steal less than $950. They can also be charged with murder and face life in prison if they aid and abet someone who murdered someone else.
The Defenses for Aiding and Abetting
If you’re caught aiding and abetting a criminal, you want to defend yourself in a court of law. You might not understand the full extent of what you’ve done, which is why you want to hire an attorney to help you with your case. Being accused of aiding and abetting is a serious crime, and it’s one that could send you to jail for many years if the crime is severe enough.
– You did not encourage or aid or facilitate a criminal
– You were accused of aiding and abetting you did not know about
– You decided at the last minute to take yourself out of this equation
– You were at the scene but had no knowledge of what was happening
– You did facilitate the crime but only later
As far as facilitating the crime after the fact, you will not walk away without penalty. However, you could see a judge reduce your charges for a lighter sentence. Perhaps you could be charged with accessory after the fact as a way of seeing a lighter sentence. You have rights when you are accused of aiding and abetting. Most people have no idea they are aiding a criminal, and that’s your strongest defense. Contact an attorney to find out what you can do and how you can do it. It’s your best shot at a better future once you’ve been accused of this.