If you have been charged with a crime, or are under investigation for one, you may have heard the term aiding and abetting. But what does it really mean? Aiding and abetting is a legal term that describes the act of helping someone else commit a crime.
If you are facing charges of aiding and abetting, it is important to understand the severity of the charge and what your options are. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.
Aiding and abetting
Aiding and abetting occurs when someone assists another in accomplishing an illegal act. A person involved in aiding and abetting may be classified as an accomplice or accessory to the crime and can face serious legal consequences.
In some cases, the accomplice may have shared knowledge of the criminal activity, provided financial support or physical assistance prior to the criminal act itself. However, the person aiding and abetting, does not have to witness the crime.
A bank teller who fails to report a customer's suspicious financial activity may be aiding and abetting the customer in committing fraud since they allowed the activity to go unreported. Additionally, if a person helps another individual gain access to property without permission, they may be aiding and abetting them in their act of trespassing. In essence, if an action taken by one party can be seen as aiding or enabling another party to commit an illicit or otherwise undesirable act then this may constitute aiding and abetting.
Proving the Crime
To prove that a person was aiding or abetting another, three elements must be proven in court:
- Another party actually committed the crime.
- The defendant must have played an integral part in assisting the criminal party with the crime
- The defendant had knowledge of the other party’s criminal intent
The prosecutor must establish that the individual knew the crime was in progress or that the person they were assisting was planning on committing the crime. If the defendant was friends with someone years prior to the crime and has not had any contact with them since then it may be difficult to successfully prove guilt.
Penalties in Florida
In Florida, aiding and abetting a criminal can be considered a felony. Depending on the circumstances, the charges may be categorized as a capital offense, first degree felony, second degree felony, or third-degree felony. Penalties for this crime range from 5-30 years in prison and between $5,000-10,000 in fines depending on the severity of the crime.
Why You Need a Lawyer
The criminal justice system is complex and it’s crucial that anyone accused of a crime, including aiding and abetting, contact an attorney. A lawyer can help individuals accused of a crime to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and provide support and guidance at every step from arrest to trial.
If you are suspected of or charged with aiding and abetting a crime, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and protect your rights. Contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A.