Aiding and Abetting a Fugitive: What You Need to Know to Avoid Jail

Aiding and abetting is one way in which a person can be charged with a crime without having actually taken part in the main criminal activity. There is even a chance that a person is guilty of aiding and abetting without even being aware. This is why knowledge of the different forms of aiding and abetting is critical when dealing with someone who may have committed a crime.

Different Defendants in a Court Case

There are two main defendants in a case that involves aiding and abetting. Both are often guilty of crimes at varying levels.

  • Principal perpetrator: This is the person who physically engages in the unlawful activity. There can be one or more perpetrators in a single case.
  • Accomplice: This is the person who assisted the principal perpetrator in some way. This could be either before, during, or after the crime. There can be multiple accomplices in a case.


Types of Aiding and Abetting

Aiding and abetting can take place at any point in a crime. Those who help the person set up the crime, but do not actually take part in it are still guilty of being an accessory before the fact. Those who actually take part in the crime are considered perpetrators. Those who help a criminal after the crime has been committed are considered accomplices after the fact. Some examples of aiding and abetting include:

  • Acting as a driver to or from the place where the unlawful act takes place
  • Being dishonest with authorities who are investigating the case
  • Holding stolen possessions or other items related to the crime
  • Sheltering the perpetrator after they have committed the crime


Sentencing for Aiding and Abetting

Those convicted of aiding and abetting face varying sentences depending on the nature of the crime and whether it is prosecuted at the federal level or state level. Some courts sentence accomplices to a lesser degree than the actual perpetrator. There are still many courts that reserve the right to sentence the accomplice to the same punishment as the actual perpetrator.

Many defendants facing aiding and abetting charges are able to avoid their own heavy sentences by cooperating with authorities in arresting or convicting the perpetrator of the case. The best first step for any person facing aiding and abetting charges is to contact an attorney to explore their options. This can lead to sentences only consisting of probation or fines with no prospect of time in prison.

For more information regarding aiding and abetting a potential criminal, speak with Houston attorney Rand Mintzer at 713-862-8880.