Aiding and Abetting as a Crime - Explained
What is Aiding and Abetting?
If you still have questions or prefer to get help directly from an agent, please submit a request.
We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Marketing, Advertising, Sales & PR
- Accounting, Taxation, and Reporting
- Professionalism & Career Development
Law, Transactions, & Risk Management
Government, Legal System, Administrative Law, & Constitutional Law Legal Disputes - Civil & Criminal Law Agency Law HR, Employment, Labor, & Discrimination Business Entities, Corporate Governance & Ownership Business Transactions, Antitrust, & Securities Law Real Estate, Personal, & Intellectual Property Commercial Law: Contract, Payments, Security Interests, & Bankruptcy Consumer Protection Insurance & Risk Management Immigration Law Environmental Protection Law Inheritance, Estates, and Trusts
- Business Management & Operations
- Economics, Finance, & Analytics
What is Aiding and Abetting Criminal Activity?
Aiding and abetting involves providing assistance to someone accused of a crime.
The assistance must relate to the criminal activity, such as assistance preparing to commit the crime, covering up the criminal activity, or evading law enforcement.
Next Article: Crimes of Conduct Endangering Workers Back to: CRIMINAL LAW
What Constitutes Aiding and Abetting?
Aiding and abetting can be very similar to conspiracy.
Under state law, the crime of aiding and abetting is often referred to as accessory.
An individual can be an accessory before or after the commission of the crime.
Accessory before the fact means that the individual helps in preparation of the criminal activity.
Accessory after the fact means that the individual helps conceal or cover up the crime.
When should offering general support to an individual who commits a crime constitute accessory? Is a person an accessory if she knowingly provides the accused with a weapon or tools to commit a crime? What if the third party simply provides information to the accused that is useful in committing the crime? What if a person allows the accused to stay with them after learning that there is a warrant for the accused arrest?
- As you can imagine, it is very difficult to draw a bright line that says what is aiding and abetting or accessory. The determination generally requires evaluating numerous situational factors. Most would agree that knowingly providing someone a tool with the purpose of committing a crime would qualify. The opinion might change if you imaging providing someone a computer software that allows individuals to share pirating music content. Simply providing information about the opportunity to commit a crime may not seem like a crime to most people. Most people would consider harboring an accused individual to be a crime. That perspective may change if that person is a family member or friend.
Hank commits a violent crime and is on the run from the police. Prior to committing the crime, he expressed to his friend, Joanna, that he needed a handgun to rob someone. Joanna, ever the loyal friend, helps him acquire the gun. After the crime is committed, Hank flees and asks his mother Edith for help in leaving the state. Edith allows Hank to take her vehicle and flee the state. Has Joanna or Edith committed crimes?
- The crime of aiding and abetting involves one person knowingly assisting another accused of a crime to escape blame, punishment or even conviction. The elements necessary to convict a person under aiding and abetting are:
- That the accused had specific intent to facilitate the commission of a crime by another.
- That the accused had the requisite intent of the underlying substantive offense.
- That the accused assisted or participated in the commission of the underlying substantive offense
- That someone committed the underlying offense.
In the example from the practice question, both Joanna and Edith are likely guilty of committing the crime of aiding and abetting. Joanna could be charged of knowingly providing the perpetrator with a weapon that he intended to use to commit a robbery. Edith could be charged with knowingly assisting the perpetrator in fleeing from law enforcement after he commits the crime. https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manual-2474-elements-aiding-and-abetting
- Criminal Law (Intro)
- What is Criminal Law?
- What are the elements of a crime?
- Classifications of crimes Misdemeanor vs Felony Criminal Charges?
- What is the process for executing an arrest?
- What are the exceptions to reading Miranda Rights?
- What is the Arraignment and Initial Appearance
- Investigation - Subpoena
- Types of Punishment for Criminal Activity
- Theories Behind Criminal Punishment
- Federal Sentencing Guidelines
- What are the 4th Amendment protections against Search and Seizure?
- What are the 5th Amendment criminal law protections?
- What are the 6th Amendment criminal law protections?
- What are the 8th Amendment criminal law protections?
- Crimes Against the Property of Others
- Activity Constituting Fraud
- Good Faith as a Defense to Fraud
- Common Types of Business Fraud
- False Statement as a Criminal Charge
- Conspiracy as a Criminal Charge
- Obstruction of Justice as a Criminal Charge
- Aiding and Abetting or Conspiracy to a Crime