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Aiding and Abetting Defense Attorney in Kingston, New York 

If you are accused of aiding and abetting in Kingston or other parts of New York, you may need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney to protect your constitutional rights and freedom. These charges essentially mean you are being accused of helping someone commit a crime. Even though you are not the perpetrator of the crime, the penalties associated with aiding and abetting can be harsh.  

As a criminal defense attorney at Melanson Law Office, I represent clients facing aiding and abetting charges in Kingston, New York, and all across the Hudson Valley, including Highland, New Paltz, Catskill, Hudson, Saugerties, and Poughkeepsie.  

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Aiding and Abetting Charges  

You need to understand what constitutes aiding and abetting before working on your defense strategy to avoid a conviction. As mentioned earlier, you can be accused of aiding and abetting if you helped another person – the perpetrator – to commit a crime.  

While the person accused of aiding and abetting may not be present at the crime scene, he/she usually has knowledge of the crime and may assist the perpetrator in committing the crime directly or indirectly. Common forms of assistance in aiding and abetting cases include actions, advice, and financial support.  

What’s the Difference Between Aiding, Abetting, and Accessory?  

Although the terms “aiding” and “abetting” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Aiding means intentionally helping another person (the perpetrator) to commit a crime. You can be accused of aiding a crime if: 

  • The crime was actually committed by the perpetrator; 

  • You knew the perpetrator you were helping was contemplating a crime; and 

  • You voluntarily acted in a way that helped (aided) the perpetrator to commit the crime.  

Here’s an example of aiding: John tells James he is planning on robbing a bank. John asks James to get him the floor plan of the bank he is planning to rob. James gets John the floor plan. John then robs the bank. Although James did not participate in robbing the bank, he assisted John (the perpetrator) in perpetrating a crime by giving him the floor plan.  

Abetting, on the other hand, refers to encouraging or inciting others to commit a crime. A person can be held liable for abetting a crime if they know that t a crime is being committed and do nothing to stop it. For example, James may be held liable for abetting if he encourages or incites John to rob the bank even though James takes no active role in the robbery.  

Now that you know what aiding and abetting are, what is the difference between those and being an accessory? The term accessory has a slightly different meaning. An accessory is a person who assists the perpetrator before or after the crime. Some examples of being an accessory would be helping the perpetrator hide from authorities, flee from the crime scene, destroy evidence, or procure objects to commit the crime.  

Elements of Aiding and Abetting  

As with any other crime, the prosecution must prove certain elements to convict you of aiding and abetting. These elements include: 

  1. The crime was committed; 

  1. The defendant had a specific intent to help the perpetrator in the commission of the crime; and  

  1. The defendant actually helped the perpetrator commit the crime by aiding or abetting.  

A person cannot be prosecuted for aiding and abetting if the perpetrator is found not guilty. When facing aiding and abetting charges, you should be aware of your rights. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you understand your best course of action to avoid a conviction or minimize possible penalties associated with aiding and abetting in New York.  

Possible Penalties 

If you are accused of helping someone commit a crime, you might wonder, “What are the possible penalties for aiding and abetting?” The penalties for helping someone else commit a crime depend on the nature of the offense and the degree of the defendant’s involvement in facilitating the commission of the crime.  

In some cases, the penalties for aiding and abetting may be the same or almost the same as those the perpetrator faces. That is why it is important to take aiding and abetting charges seriously and start working on your defense as soon as possible.  

Aiding and Abetting Defense Attorney Serving
Kingston, New York 

If you are being accused of aiding or abetting a crime, you need the legal guidance and assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and freedom. At Melanson Law Office, I provide personalized legal services to clients in Kingston, New York, and throughout the Hudson Valley. Schedule a consultation today to talk about your case and start working on your defense immediately.