Aiding and abetting others in the commission of a crime can have severe penalties, even if others commit the underlying crime. These laws essentially eliminate the difference between committing a crime and helping someone else commit a crime.
Under Tex. Pen. Code. Ch. 7, not only can you face criminal charges for a crime that you commit, but you also can face prosecution for crimes that others committed, depending on the situation. You can be criminally responsible for the crimes of others if you:
- Cause or assist an innocent or non-responsible person to engage in illegal actions
- Intentionally promote or assist in the offense by soliciting, encouraging, directing, aiding, or attempting to aid others in committing the crime
- Have a legal duty to prevent crime and fail to make reasonable efforts to stop others from committing a crime
Furthermore, in a conspiracy to commit a crime, you can face charges if anyone in the conspiracy commits a felony offense, just as if you had committed the crime yourself. You are criminally responsible for a criminal offense that occurs even if you entered the conspiracy with no intentions of committing a crime or causing harm to people or their property.
Under accomplice law in Texas, you can face the same penalties for aiding or abetting someone in committing a crime as the person who committed or carried out the crime. For instance, if you drove your friend to and from a bank so that he could commit bank robbery, and he does rob the bank, you can face the same penalties as your friend. If you give someone a gun to shoot another person, you can be charged with the shooting offense. The same logic applies if you hide someone who has committed a crime and is wanted by police, receive stolen property so that police will not find it in the home of the person who stolen it, or lie to police about a wanted person’s whereabouts. The Peek & Toland criminal defense lawyers are here to represent your interests and advise you of the best course of action in your criminal case. Set up an appointment to talk to us today and discover how we can assist you with your criminal defense issue.