Helping Someone Who Committed a Crime - are You Committing a Crime Yourself?
When a person helps or
"gives assistance" to a friend or family member who's committing a
crime, that person may be committing a crime known as aiding and abetting in Kansas City. Even though the idea to
commit the offense may not have been yours and you may have only played a small
role by helping, you could face criminal charges. If you helped someone who has committed a
crime in any way, you'll want to seek the legal guidance of a seasoned Kansas
City criminal defense attorney. We wrote an in depth article on Hieros Gamos (here).
What is aiding and abetting? Essentially, this criminal offense occurs when someone helps make the crime take place. For instance, even though you may not even be at the crime scene or involved in a physical manner, you may provide financial support, offer advice, or do something after the fact in an effort to "cover up" the crime. Even though you aren't the principal offender, you took some action in perpetrating, carrying out, or trying to help conceal the offense.
Aiding and abetting is unlawful for the simple reason that it helps someone else commit a crime. One example is allowing a friend or family member to store goods that are stolen in your vehicle, home, or somewhere on your property. Another instance in which someone may be charged with aiding and abetting is if you provide information to the person who is planning to commit a crime, such as sharing the normal schedule of when members of a family are typically home or not at home so that the perpetrator can carry out a robbery of the residence when no one is present.
While this is a serious criminal offense, there are also cases in which someone may be charged with acting as an accessory to a crime or even conspiracy. Under these circumstances there is usually more involvement in a crime than with aiding and abetting. In Missouri, someone who aids another person in committing a crime is considered as guilty as the person who actually did commit the offense.
Aiding and abetting can occur with the most minor and serious of crimes, whether in shoplifting or murder / manslaughter. In every case the state has the burden of proving your guilt, however it's critical that you, as the accused, are able to convince the jury or judge that you did not aid in the commission of the crime. The penalties for this offense vary greatly depending on the seriousness of the crime, criminal history, and other factors and may include jail/prison time, fines, a criminal record, probation, and more.
It is imperative anyone who is arrested or even under investigation for allegedly helping someone else carry out a crime contacts an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Kansas City immediately. A conviction can literally change your life, and ruin your future.