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If you are being charged with adiing and abbetting a crime, you are probably confused as to exactly what aiding and abbetting is and how you can be found guilty of aiding and abbetting. 

If you are being charged or have been arrested for this crime. Then you should call our office.  I have more than 13 years of experience in Criminal Defense, have tried cases ranging from Petty Theft to First Degree Murder.  I have tried cases that were almost exclusively related to aiding and abbetting.  I have handled several hundred cases, and have personally tried 50 trials. 

“Aiding and Abbetting” is also called “accomplice liability” is not itself a crime.  It allows the state prosecute everyone that is “in on the crime” even if they did not perpetrate the crime directly. 


Alen, Bill and Charlie plan a bank Robbery. Each plays a different role. Alen draws up the diagram of the teller window and the safes.  He gives it to Bill (after which Alens role is done) Charlie drives Bill to the Bank and waits out front in the getaway car.  Bill actually goes in and Robs the bank.  Bill comes running out with the loot, jumps in the car, and Charlies drives the two of them off. 

Technically speaking only Bill did the actual “robbing” “but prosecutors could charge all three with bank robbery.  Bill would be the prinicipal perpetrator, Alen and Charlie as aiders and abbettors.  In alens case he’s liable for the robbery even though he wasn’t present at the crime scene. 

Thats because California’s aiding and abbetting law holds all three liable if



facilitate or


in the commission of the crime, no matter how insignificant that persons role may have been.  But there must be some kind of involvement before someoen can be held liable.

Prosecutors often use this offense to ensare people in gang cases.

sometimes one gang member will commit a crime and the prosecution will accuse all the other members of the gang of aiding and abbetting in the crime.  Even though it is unclear what the other gang members actually did.

For example if two members go into a liquor store and two stay outside and unkown to the two outside, the two that went in decide to rob the store.  The prosecution will always charge the two outside with being aiders and abbettors especially if they are gang members.  The prosecution will alawys say the two outside are lookouts.  Even though there is absolutely no evidence they were lookouts.  They will even bring in a gang expert to say that gang members usually act together.

They cannot under recent case law testify as to the intent element of the crime, in other words the gang cop cannot say I believe the two outside acted with intent to aid or facilitate the robbery by acting as lookouts.  However, the gang cop can testify that he believes gang members act as lookouts for other gang members when they commit crimes.  This is often enough to sway jurors who are already prejudiced against the alleged gang members. 

You must have an experienced Attorney that understands how to write the motions in limine to attempt to keep out this type of testimony.  



You did not aid facilitate or encourage anyone to commit a crime. 

you are being falsely accused

withdrew from participation

merely being present at the scene of the crime is not in and of itself aiding and abbetting however it can be taken into account when determining if you are liable. 

However presence at the scene of the crime is not required to be convicted of aiding and abbetting. 


Just because you know a crime is about to be committed and do nothing to stop it does not mean you are liable for aiding and abbetting. 

If after reading this article you still have questions do not hesitate to call.


Gerald Schwab, Jr.


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Law Office of Gerald Schwab, Jr.
Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
5588 N Palm Ave,
Fresno, CA 93704 View Map
Phone: 559.441.1418