If you helped someone commit a crime, you could be charged with aiding and abetting. If you helped someone avoid the police after a crime, you may be charged with the felony crime of being an accessory after the fact. This means you can be arrested and charged, even if you had nothing to do with the commission of the crime itself. If you are an aider or abettor to a crime, you will be charged with the same crimes as the perpetrator.
Anyone accused of this crime, or the similar but lesser crime of being an accessory to a crime, should immediately contact a Vista criminal defense lawyer. By working with an experienced representative, you may be able to avoid a conviction.
There are a number of different defenses Vista criminal attorneys may use in aiding and abetting charges and your specific defense will be based upon the individual details of your case. In many cases, Vista criminal defense lawyers will be able to show that you did not realize the persons involved with the crime were actually planning a crime or that you did not mean to help them escape the police. If you did not know a crime was going to be committed or was committed, you did not aid or abet a criminal. In many cases, Vista criminal defense attorneys can plea an aiding and abetting charge down to an accessory charge.
If you are convicted for being an accessory to a crime, you can face up to $5000 in fines and up to one year in a county jail or a state penitentiary. This crime is less serious then aiding and abetting because an accessory to a crime merely knows about a crime or helps a criminal after a crime has been committed.
Someone who has aided and abetted a criminal must have actually provided assistance with the crime in some manner. This assistance can come in the form of advice, planning, financial assistance, helping the criminals escape police or similar actions. Those convicted of aiding and abetting can face the same sentences as those who actually committed the crime itself. For example, if you were the getaway driver in a crime, you will face the same charges and sentence as your companion, whether he committed a robbery or burglary or even murder. Even if you only assisted in a very minor way you still can be charged and sentenced for all the crimes committed by the others involved in the crime.
If you have any questions about the difference between being an accessory to a a crime and aiding and abetting, please ask your criminal attorneys.
Vista courts take these charges very seriously. If you have been accused of being an accomplice or aiding and abetting a criminal, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Sarah G.