In San Diego, California, the law doesn’t only target those who actively participate in criminal activity. Even if you don’t directly engage in the crime, you could still find yourself facing severe legal consequences for your involvement if you are charged with aiding & abetting.
It’s crucial to understand the gravity of this situation. Our law firm has years of experience handling complex criminal cases including San Diego federal crimes, San Diego DUI charges, drug crimes, sex crimes, and more charges.
Fortunately, legal help is available from our experienced San Diego aiding & abetting attorneys. If you’ve been arrested and are facing these charges, contact our team Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers today at (619) 357-4977 to schedule a free consultation.
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How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help if You’re Arrested for Aiding & Abetting in San Diego
As a defendant dealing with aiding and abetting charges in San Diego, you’re dealing with serious legal implications.
To build a solid defense strategy, we will take several specific steps to help you:
We will examine the evidence to understand the exact nature of your alleged involvement in the crime. This includes looking at police reports, photographic evidence, and surveillance footage. We may also interview witnesses who can provide information about the incident in question.
Negotiate With Prosecutor
We will enter into plea negotiations with the prosecutor. In cases where a not-guilty verdict seems unlikely, we will try to get a deal that allows you to plead guilty to lesser charges with fewer consequences instead of going to trial. It’s up to you to decide if you want to take a deal or not, but it’s always worth at least considering.
We will meticulously scrutinize all presented evidence to identify any potential flaws or inconsistencies which may undermine its credibility in court.
We will use legal motions to your advantage where possible. These tactical requests are made before or during trial and can lead to the exclusion of damaging evidence or even a dismissal of charges in some instances.
Trial Preparation and Representation
Preparation and representation at trial are critical. We will use our experience and skill to present compelling arguments, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence to convince the judge and jury of your innocence.
These are just a few of the legal services we can provide you with after an arrest in San Diego, CA. Contact our trusted San Diego criminal defense attorneys today to learn more about how we can help with your case.
Overview of Aiding and Abetting in California
Aiding and abetting involve any acts that knowingly and successfully aid, facilitate, encourage, or instigate a crime. Essentially, if you’re doing anything to support or enable criminal activity, even if you’re not the one committing the act, you could be charged with aiding and abetting.
Elements of Aiding and Abetting
There are three key elements that must be present in an aiding and abetting case:
Knowledge of the perpetrator’s intention
You must have been aware beforehand of the principal offender’s intent to commit a crime. Simply being at a scene unknowingly or by chance doesn’t qualify as knowledge. The prosecutor will need to offer evidence that you actually knew the plan.
Intent to assist in the crime
There must be a conscious decision on your part to facilitate the crime. This is often demonstrated through explicit actions that directly facilitated the crime or implicit behaviors suggesting assistance was provided.
For example, you made a plan to go purchase burglary tools with the intent to provide them to someone who was planning to break into a building.
Evidence of helpful aid
Mere association with perpetrators isn’t enough—it must be clearly demonstrated that your presence and actions directly or indirectly contributed towards the successful commission of the crime.
For example, if you were found providing tools necessary for the commission of offenses, such as burglary weapons used during a break-in, this is direct evidence indicating the intention of assistance.
As you can see, merely being present during the commission of a crime or having knowledge of someone’s intent to commit a crime isn’t enough to convict. There needs to be evidence demonstrating that the person willingly and intentionally participated in the crime.
Common Examples of Aiding and Abetting
To help clarify what might constitute aiding and abetting, consider some common scenarios:
- Driving a getaway car
- Supplying items for the crime
- Acting as a lookout
- Providing a false alibi for someone else
These examples are, of course, not exhaustive. There are countless ways someone could assist in criminal activities, and many of them could be considered aiding and abetting.
What Are the Penalties for Aiding and Abetting in San Diego, California?
If you help another person commit a crime, you could face the consequences of that specific offense. Penal Code 31 PC states that any person who is “concerned in the commission of a crime,” whether you commit it directly or help, will be subject to the associated penalties.
For instance, if you help someone commit misdemeanor petty theft, you may face the penalties for that crime, which will depend on the specifics of the crime and other factors, such as your criminal history.
Sticking with this same example, you could face 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or probation.
Alternatively, if you help someone commit residential burglary, you could face the penalties applicable for that felony offense. As a result of aiding the crime, you could face up to six years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, and/or felony probation.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Arrested for Aiding & Abetting?
It’s important to understand the legal defenses that can be raised if you’re arrested for these charges. Some of the most common include the following:
You did not know the other person was going to commit a crime
Sometimes ignorance can be used as an effective defense. If charged with aiding and abetting, you can argue that you didn’t know they had any intention to break the law.
This defense hinges on proving that the accused genuinely lacked knowledge, which requires a careful examination of the facts and evidence.
You offered no assistance that actually aided in the commission of the crime
In some cases, people may be accused of aiding and abetting due to their mere presence at the scene of a crime. However, for these charges to be valid, you must have actively provided assistance that directly contributed to the commission of the crime. If no such assistance was provided, this defense could be successful.
You Withdrew From the Crime
In certain cases, you may be able to fight your aiding and abetting charges by proving that you withdrew from participation in criminal activity prior to the commission of the charged crime. This means that before the crime took place, you took specific actions to distance yourself from it, and you did everything in your power to prevent it from happening.
If you can provide evidence that supports your claim of withdrawal – including notification of other participants and a sincere effort to prevent the crime from occurring – you have a strong defense against aiding and abetting charges.
You did not offer assistance willingly or knowingly
In order to be charged with aiding and abetting, a person must have engaged in the act willingly and knowingly. If you can demonstrate that you did not intentionally assist in the crime or you were coerced into helping, this could serve as a valid defense.
This defense works best when there’s evidence of coercion or manipulation that forced the accused to participate in the criminal activity, like text messages or voicemails.
You have been falsely accused
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to be falsely accused of aiding and abetting. If you can prove through witness testimony, a solid alibi, video surveillance, or other evidence that you were not involved in the crime and did not take part in helping the other person, you may be able to successfully defend against such charges.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our San Diego Aiding and Abetting Attorneys
Dealing with charges of aiding and abetting in San Diego, California, can be a scary experience, but guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Navigating the intricate legal landscape with their expertise can result in more favorable outcomes for you.
For help with an aiding and abetting charge or any other criminal matter, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a San Diego aiding and abetting attorney.
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