When is helping someone a crime?

When you commit a crime, you know that if you’re caught you may have to pay a steep price in terms of fines, reputational damage and potential imprisonment. Do you know that you can sometimes end up facing punishment for a crime committed by somebody else?

In fact, if you’re found guilty of assisting another with a crime in some way, you can be charged with the same offense that the principal actor is charged. If they murdered someone during a robbery, for example, you can be charged with murder also.

What does Texas law say about complicity?

What sort of things count as aiding, abetting or acting as an accessory to a crime? Generally speaking, you could be in serious legal trouble for giving any assistance or encouragement to another in relation to any criminal activity. It doesn’t even matter whether your actions occurred prior to the crime, during the crime or after.

Some examples include:

  • Giving your best friend a gun, knowing they intend to use it to intimidate someone
  • Lending your brother your car so that he can get out of town after committing a robbery
  • Telling your co-worker exactly how they can manipulate client accounts to steal money
  • Letting your cousin hide a weapon and stolen property in your garage
  • Lying to law enforcement officers while they’re conducting an investigation into a crime
  • Driving someone from the scene of a robbery, knowing what they did (even if you didn’t agree to their plan or know in advance)

Here’s the reality: If you think you may be in trouble with the law because of some involvement (no matter how peripheral) in a crime, you probably are. Experienced legal guidance can help you understand what you may be facing and what defense strategies you have available.

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