Aiding and Abetting a Crime In CA
In the state of California, if you help, facilitate, or encourage a crime you can be charged. Regardless if you, yourself, committed the crime you can face the exact same punishment as the individual that did.
According to California Penal Code 31 PC, aiding and abetting a crime can result in serious punishments, including felony convictions. The most important elements come down to:
- At the time the act took place you knew of the plan to commit the crime
- You supported the plan
- You helped and encouraged the act of the crime (intentionally)
What’s important to remember is that the act of involvement in the crime DOES NOT have to significantly aid the actual perpetrators. Any form of promotion (such as arranging a meeting) are defined as aiding and abetting a crime. Furthermore, the law disregards the ability to commit the crime for aiding and abetting.
Even if a person cannot commit the crime due to physical incapabilities, but were key members in the crime, they will be charged the same. California law does not require a person to be present at the crime scene for them to forgo charges. If your act of aiding the crime can be done without actually being there, you still aided the plan.
If someone is convicted of violating Penal Code 31 PC, They will face the same punishment as the individual charged with the crime. For example, if a main perpetrator murders someone with a gun, the person who aided and abetted the murder will same the same sentence as the murderer.
A criminal attorney can help a defendant defend against aiding and abetting. Criminal attorneys have to prove that the defendant had no legal duty to prevent the crime, did not aid the plan, and did not go through with it. If someone is falsely accused of a crime, they must hire an experienced attorney in order to gain solid advice and guidance for their case.