Aiding and Abetting

In the most general sense, to aid and abet is the act of helping a person commit a crime, cover up a crime, or avoid law enforcement after committing a crime. To be guilty of aiding and abetting, you do not need to have even been present at the time the crime was committed (this can include white collar crime and cyber crime). You only need to have offered advice, insistence, or help of some sort that allowed the crime to be carried out before or after the fact.

If you are suspected of helping commit a crime, it is important to seek counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you avoid a conviction. Even simply helping a person carry out a crime, or harboring a criminal, can result in severe consequences such as conviction involving jail time and/or fines. One common example is to drive the "getaway car," where the driver did not hurt anyone, but enabled the crime. A lawyer who knows and understands your rights will be able to protect you and may even be able to help you get the charges dropped before the case goes to court.

In California, the punishment for being an accessory (commonly known as an accomplice) to the commission of a crime will result in a fine of up to $5000 and/or a jail or prison sentence of up to one year. An accessory is defined as a person who has knowledge of a crime or who helps a criminal after they have committed the crime. Another person who aids and abets a criminal who will face more extensive charges is a principal, a person who actually advises on, urges or helps with the commission of a crime. Assistance can be defined as advice, actions, or financial support.