Los Angeles Aiding & Abetting Implications

Posted By Robert Bernstein || 7-Feb-2009

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Robert M. Bernstein addresses what it means to aid and abet a crime or conspire with another to commit a crime. If one is charged with being an accessory, aiding and abetting a crime or conspiring with another person to commit a crime, under California Criminal law they may be charged with the underlying crime itself. If someone assists or aids another in the commission of a crime which furthers the accomplishment of that crime, that person may be charged with aiding and abetting the crime. Under California law if you aid and abet another in the commission of a crime you may be imprisoned for the full penalties of the underlying crime. For example, if John were to ask Tom to drive him to a Bank so that he may rob the bank and Tom does so, but does not enter the bank himself and simply waits in the car, he may still be charged with bank robbery. In fact, if John were to use a weapon and kill someone while robbing the bank, Tom could be charged with murder although he never entered the bank himself.

Conspiracy criminal charges are different then aiding and abetting. To be charged with conspiracy under California criminal law, the actual crime does not have to occur. Someone may be charged with conspiracy to commit a crime if they agree with another person to commit a crime and take any steps in furtherance of that agreement, even though the actual crime may never have been carried out. For example, if John were to ask Tom to help him commit a robbery and John agrees to help by purchasing supplies to be used during the robbery - then he is guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery. Even if the robbery never occurs, it is a serious crime in itself to conspire to commit a crime and may be punished by a state prison sentence.

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