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Being charged with a crime can put you in a stressfull situation. As you work to prove your case, there is someone else working against you. Innocent or guilty, there are some things that you should not do as you face criminal charges.

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. 

Example:

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

they

Encourage

facilitate or

aid

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.  

 

DEFENSES

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. 

KNOWLEGE ALONE IS NOT SUFFICIENT

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.

 

Burglary law in California can be a very complex area of the law.  You need an experienced Attorney to help you.  With more than 13 years of Criminal Defense experience I can help you throught the challenges of being charged with Burglary. 

California defines Burglary under Penal Code section 459 "entering a structure with intent to commit a Felony or theft"

There is no breaking requirement for Burglary only that you entered with intent to commit a Felony therein. 

Burglary is a Wobbler which means it can be charged either as a Felony or a Misdameanor. 

The penalties for Burglary are harsh and it is a strike.  However, due to difficulties in proof often Burglaries are reduced to lesser charges by prosecutors.

 

Below I will go over several areas of what the prosecution must prove as to Burglary.

1. What is the Difference between First Degree Burglary and Second Degree Burglary.

2. How does the Prosecutor Prove that I committed Burglary under Penal Code 459.

3. Examples of Burglary

4. California Burglary and related offenses

5. Penalties, Punishments, and Sentencing for California Penal Code 459PC Burglary.

6.  What are the defenses to Burglary

 

If after reading this article you have any questions please feel free to call us.

 

1. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND DEGREE BURGLARY

As previously stated Burglary is defined as entering a structure with intent to commit a Theft or Felony therein. 

FIRST DEGREE BURGLARY

First Degree Burglary is when the above elements are met and the structure was a dwelling house.  Or what is commonly referred to as a place where someone lives or sleeps.

SECOND DEGREE BURGLARY

Is entering a place that is not a dwelling house with intent to commit a theft or Felony therein. 

2.  How Does the Prosecutor prove that I have committed Burglary Under PC 459 1st Degree?

 

the prosecution must prove the following two facts.

1. that you entered a building

2. when you entered the building you did so with the intent to commit a theft or felony therein.

lets break this down.

for the purposes of this statute a dwelling house includes

traditional homes

mobile homes

apartments

ENTRY

Any part of the body enters the home

or an object under the control of the person entering

For example if you reach into an open window in your neighbors house you have committed a Burglary.

INTENT

This is where it gets tricky, the prosecutor must prove that you intended to commit a burglary at the time that you entered the dwelling.  sometimes that is clear sometimes it is not.

if you are entering at night with burglary tools and you have items taken from the home outside when the police arrive then your intent is clear. 

Burglary tools are anything that can assist you in the burglary.

your intent may not be so clear if you are committing petty theft. unless you walked in with scissors or other tools to help you in commiting the Petty Theft. 

 

FIRST DEGREE BURGLARY IS ALWAYS A FELONY AND A STRIKE OFFENSE

SECOND DEGREE BURGLARY CAN BE CHARGED AS BOTH A FELONY OR A MISDEMEANOR

This depends on the facts of the case and your prior history is any. 

if you are convicted of second degree burglary you will be either given probation or 16 months two years or three years in state prision depending on your prior history and the facts of the case.

if you are convicted of First Degree Burglary you face two, four or six years in the state prison or in unusual circumstances probation. 

Many times we have a psychologist do a full evaluations of our clients to determine if they have a mental health diagnosis that would benefit from treatment if treatment was ordered as part of probation. 

 

If you or a loved one have been accused of Burglary call us to get the help you need.

 

 

If you have been charged with this Felony offense it is a serious charge.  I have handled dozens of cases involving resisting arrest.  As a former probation officer, deputy district attorney and criminal defense attorney with more than 13 years of criminal defense experience I have the ability to handle your case. 

Californias 148 pc is californias resisting arrest law as a misdameanor. However, pc 69 may be prosecuted as a Felony. Which subjects an offender to a state prison sentence and substantial fines.

But were here to help.  As a former probation officer I know that "resisting arrest" charges are oftentimes nothing more than trumped up allegations.  And that whats more is that my knowlege can help you.

Below, our California criminal defense attorneys address the following:

1. The legal definition of "Resisting an Executive Order

2. Legal Defenses

3. Penalties, Punishments, and Sentencing

4. Related Offenes

 

If, after readin this article you have any questions dont hesitate to call.

 

THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF "RESISTING AN EXECUTIVE OFFICER"

PENAL CODE 69 ACTUALLY ENCOMPASES TWO SEPERATE OFFENSES.

1. Willfully and unlawfully attempting by threats or violence to deter or prevent an executive officer from performing a lawful duty, and

2. Using force or violence to resist and executive officer in the perfromance of his or her lawful duties.

Lets take a closer look at some of these terms and phrases to gain a better understanding of their legal definitions

WILLFULLY AND UNLAWFULLY

You act willfully when you committ and act willingly or on purpose.  It doesn't matter if you don't intend to break the law, as long as the act is intentional.

The term "unlawfully" is used to distinguish from lawful threats.   Threatening to report an officer who for example is on the take is not unalawfull. 

 

THREATS

Threats may be oral or written and maybe implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of statements and conduct.  There is no requirement tha you actually intend to carry out your threatened act. only that you intend fo it to be interpreted as a threat by the intended victim. 

Similiarly, there is no requirement that the threat be immediate or imminent. 

 

FORCE OR VIOLENCE

The words force and violence have the same meaning in a resisting and executive officer case as they do in a california penal code 242  battery case. The force does not need to cause any harm or pain, as even a slight touch done in a rude, angry or offensive manner.  Also touching something attached to the person such as clothing is or a purse is sufficient. 

EXUCUTIVE OFFICER

An executive officer is a public employee who may exercise some or all of his or her own discretion in performing his or her job duties.  Any employee who is charged with enforcing the law is an executive officer. 

this is a much broader definition than the one for peace officer it includes

judges

prosecutors

other elected officials

 

LAWFUL DUTIES

Must be a duty that you prevented him from carrying out a lawful duty.

 

DEFENSES

Some of the defenses although not a complete list are as follows

the officers conduct was unlawful

the officer isn't protected when committing an unlawful act

self defense

similiarly, if you resist an exucutive officer who is using excessive force against you, you are entitled to exercise you right to self defense in accordance with californias self defense laws.  your force must be reasonable under the circumstances.

remember if the officer only uses excessive force because you are resisting what is otherwise a lawful order than this defense will not work.

POLICE MISCONDUCT

pc 69 is often trumped up charge.  when we suspect that you are innocent we can file a pitches motion to investigate possible police misconduct a pitches motion is a request for information in the arresting officers personell file.  If we find a history of complaints or misconduct, it will likely result in the reduction of charges. 

PENALTIES PUNISHMENT AND SENTENCING

Penal Code 69 is a wobbler meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdameanor.  depending on the circumstances.

 

If you have any questions don't hesitate to call. 

 

 

A DUI case can last a long time, especially if you’re taking the case all the way to trial. Many times clients will go the route of accepting a plea bargain, which can significantly shorten the amount of time your DUI attorney works on the case. However, before you consider a plea bargain, it’s important to consider the following scenarios.

Almost always a Manslaghter at trial will be a defense or mitigation to first or second degree murder charge.  Rarely is manslaughter charged by itself as a charge brought by the District Attorney. 

Having tried more than 5 First Degree Murder cases, and having personally handled more than 20 more murder cases, and 10 Attempted Murder, cases I know the ins and outs of a Homicide trial.  I wrote earlier about the law of Homicide I will keep this article more to the crime of manslaughter and how that charge relates to the crime of Murder.

 

First as stated above, the District Attorney will usually charge someone on First Degree Murder charge.  As  a result if there is no question that the accused intentionally killed the deceased an argument will ensue to have the case pled to a charge of manslaughter.

If the defendant's argument is that someone else killed the deceased that is a very different defense. But lets say you are accused of First Degree Murder and you are going to trial, the District Attorney has rejected your offer of pleading guilty to manslaughter and the case is now at trial.

Many times I will simply tell the jurors up front they are here to decide wether the accused should be held liable for first degree murder, second degree murder, or manslaughter.

 

will wil admit that the defendant killed the deceased but wil say there was either one of three things present.

1. Provocation

2. Imperfect Self Defense

3. Heat of Passion

it should be noted that Self Defense, is a different defense. Meaning you or someones elses life was in danger of death or serious bodily injury and that is a complete defense to Homicide. We will have a seperate article regarding self defense.

WHAT IS PROVOCATION

Under Jury Instruction 522 Sufficient Provocaction can reduce a Murder from First Degree Murder to Second Degree Murder and Second Degree Murder to Manslaughter. 

This is because if you were provoked you acted out of the provocation in committing the intentional murder not deliberation and premeditation.  Contrary to Jury Instruction 570 which we will discuss below, the provocation does not have to be found reasonable just sufficient.  This is because if you are acting out of provocation then you will not be acting with malice which is needed for Second Degree Murder. 

Therefore the provocation shows you were not acting with deliberation and premiditation, and you were not acting with Malice.  Again this is a stand alone Jury Instruction, meaning it does not need a  lot of other Jury Instructions to explain it and must be argued properly to the Jury without mixing it up with the 570 Heat of Passion Instruction.  That is exactly why you need an Attorney that has tried Homicide cases.

WHAT IS HEAT OF PASSION 

The Heat of Passion Jury Instruction is Instruction Number 570. 

Heat of passion means that a person intentionally killed another person, however, when they did this they acted out of heat of passion with adequate provocation and before the passions had cooled.  You see in our criminal justice system we look at what the person did wrong and what there mental state or what they were thinking when they did what they did.   And our legal system believes that if someone kills someone before the passions have cooled then they should be treated as less culpible then say someoen that premiditates a killing. 

Jury Instruction 570 has two elements

Subjective Element was the person provoked, and acted due to that provocation and

Objective Element A reasonable person would have been provoked under the same circumstances. 

The standard explanation is if you walk in on your wife having sex with another man immediately grab a gun and kill the man.  This could lead to a manslaughter conviction because the person acted immediately before the passions had cooled and a reasonable person would be provoked to act without due caution and circumspection at a man sleeping with his wife.

WHAT IS IMPERFECT SELF DEFENSE

Imperfect Self Defense is another way to have a Homicide reduced from First Degree to Second Degree and reduced to Manslaughter. 

Imperfect self defense has two different elements.

1. That the person had an HONEST BELIEF IN THE NEED TO USE DEADLY FORCE

2. That that belief was unreasonable

so there is no reasonableness requirement.  In other words just as long as the persons belief was reasonable that he needed to use deadly force then the crime is manslaughter under the imperfect self defense doctrine. 

example

you are at a bar and a menacing looking person is staring at you.  At one point he even makes a comment a to you.  You decide to leave.  He follows you outiside.  Once outside he appears to reach for a weapon, you shoot and kill him.  It ends up  that he only was going for his keys to leave.  However the jury believes that you honestly believed in your need to defend yourself even though that belief was unreasonable you would not be guilty of first degree murde, because you were acting out of your unreasonable belief no premiditation and deliberation. 

You would not be guilty of Second Degree Murder because you were not acting out of malice you were acting out of your belief in the need to protect yourself with deadly force. Therefore you would be guilty of Manslaughter. 

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Gerald Schwab, Jr.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & DUI ATTORNEY SERVING ALL OF CALIFORNIA

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Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
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Fresno, CA 93704
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