Any person accused of criminal aiding and abetting assisted someone in committing a crime, one way or another. Generally, these people are not present when the actual crime occurs. However, they knew about the crime before or after it happened and helped the person or people committing the crime through actions, advice, or even monetary support. In the United States, Charges and severity of aiding and abetting correlate directly with how deep the involvement of the person was.

If you’ve been accused of criminal aiding and abetting or of being an accessory to a crime, you need an experienced Shreveport criminal defense lawyer. Hiring an experienced lawyer at the Greenwald Law Firm could be the difference between your receiving a conviction and receiving a very long sentence. We fight for your rights and your freedoms. Call our Shreveport office today at 318-219-7867 for a free consultation. 

How are aiding, abetting, and accessory defined?

These three terms, while similar in nature and often used interchangeably, are different in specific ways. Notably, aiding and abetting often go hand in hand when charging an individual for helping someone else commit a crime. A person described as an accessory is often present before or after the actual crime takes place.

  • Aiding is as it sounds. It means to help or assist another person in committing a crime.
  • Abetting consists of encouraging or inducing another person into committing a crime.
  • An accessory to a crime is one who participates in aiding or abetting specifically before or after the commission of the crime. Basically, they are not present for the crime itself, but they play a role.

What is an inchoate crime?

In the United States, you may hear the term “inchoate crime” in conjunction with the above terms. It encompasses three primary crimes, including attempt, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting. Inchoate, or incomplete, crimes are basically acts taken toward the commission of a crime, or anything that constitutes indirect participation in that crime. Even though the acts taken during inchoate crimes are not crimes in themselves, they are still considered a criminal offense. This is because they intend to further the commission of a crime. 

A substantive offense is a crime which is actually committed, not just planned. If someone plans out and executes every act necessary to commit a certain crime aside from one indispensable element, they are not guilty. This is because the indispensable element is completely necessary in order to actually commit the crime. If someone’s involvement in a crime is substantial enough, their charge might elevate to conspiracy. In the United States, this generally means that the accused person was very significantly involved in either the planning or concealment of a crime.

What is abetting?

As stated above, abetting is encouraging or inducing another person to commit a crime. Below, we provide common examples of abetting a crime.

  • Encouraging someone to commit any type of crime
  • Instructing someone to become the perpetrator of a crime
  • Hiring someone to commit a crime for you
  • Failing to prevent the commission of a crime, if you are able

To satisfy the requirements of an aiding and abetting charge in the United States, the following elements must be present. Someone charged with aiding and abetting in the U.S. faces the same charges as the perpetrator.

  • The perpetrator committed the crime.
  • The defendant knew that the perpetrator intended to commit a crime.
  • Before, during, or after the crime, the defendant aided in its commission.
  • The defendant’s actions actually helped to commit the crime.

Is acting as a lookout aiding and abetting a crime?

Yes. For example, you might serve as the “lookout” for a bank robbery, or some other crime. You watch for approaching law enforcement officers, and warn the perpetrator of their approach. This warning helps the perpetrator to escape. Therefore, you aided in the commission of a crime, even though you did not rob the bank yourself. It is not necessary that people be physically present for the commission of crimes in order to have liability for crimes. 

Are “getaway” drivers aiding and abetting?

Yes. Drivers of a “getaway” vehicle for crimes such as robbery or theft are not accessories after the fact. They are liable for aiding and abetting a crime. For example, if you volunteer to drive the “getaway” vehicle for a bank robbery, you are committing a crime. 

What is accomplice liability?

An accomplice is someone who aids in the commission of a crime. In the United States, courts will consider several elements when determining accomplice liability. 

  • Intent: An accomplice must have had the intent to commit the crime to its completion.
  • Scope of Liability: An accomplice is liable for the crime they intended to commit, as well as any crimes they committed during the commission of the intended crime.
  • An accomplice must aid, encourage, or assist in the commission of a crime.
  • An accomplice must also have knowledge of the commission of a crime. If they are not aware that the other person is committing a crime or intends to commit a crime, they are not an accomplice.

How does this apply to white-collar crime?

Aiding and abetting, as well as being an accessory, also applies to white-collar crime. For example, someone you know engages in affinity fraud, embezzlement, mortgage fraud, racketeering, or maybe illegal arms sales. If you provide aid, counsel, money, supplies, or help in any form, you will be an accomplice and likely charged with aiding and abetting.

Do I Need a Criminal Aiding and Abetting Attorney?

If you’ve been charged with criminal aiding and abetting, or as an accessory after the fact, you need a Louisiana criminal defense attorney. Joseph Greenwald of the Greenwald Law Firm has over 20 years of experience representing thousands of people charged with crimes of all levels. As the top criminal defense attorney in Shreveport, he knows what it means to defend someone in court. Their life, livelihood, and future are in his hands, and he never takes that lightly. Criminal court processes are confusing, but Joseph Greenwald will improve your chances of either winning your case or getting your charges reduced. Call the Greenwald Law Firm today at 318-219-7867 today to schedule your free consultation.

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