Aiding and Abetting

In criminal law, aiding and abetting is the crime of assisting in the commission of a crime. This assistant is known as the accessory to the crime. The accessory does not actually commit the illegal act, but his or her actions may have allowed a crime to occur.

Aiding and abetting is a criminal offense that may land the accessory to the crime in prison. Depending on the crime that was committed, the accessory may face criminal or misdemeanor charges. Either charge may permanently remain on the individual’s criminal record.

What Constitutes Aiding and Abetting?

A person is considered guilty of aiding and abetting when he or she helps a person commit a crime without actually being at the scene of the crime. Ways an individual may aid and abet are:

  • Knowing about a crime and doing nothing to stop it
  • Helping an individual plan a crime
  • Committing any action that assisted the crime

If an individual was at the scene of the crime committing a criminal action, then he or she is considered a principal. Additionally, simply being at the scene of a crime does not constitute aiding and abetting; the individual must be connected to the commission of the crime.

Punishments for Aiding and Abetting

In most cases, individuals who have been convicted of aiding and abetting will face the same criminal punishment that the actual criminal faces. In some cases, the punishment may be lesser, especially if the accessory cooperates with the prosecutors and helps them uncover evidence.

Contact Us

Aiding and abetting in a crime is often considered just as serious as actually committing the crime. If you were the accessory to a crime, you may benefit from legal defense. Contact the Dallas criminal defense lawyers of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter at (214) 845-7007 for more information.


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