near me
Difference Between Aiding And Abetting California


Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerIn California, aiding and abetting in committing a crime is a prosecutable offense even if your individual actions are legal. Therefore, helping another to commit a crime in any way may result in exposing yourself to potential prosecution for aiding and abetting.

Aiding and abetting, as defined in California Penal Code Section 31, encompasses various forms of involvement, including providing advice, encouragement, counseling, making threats or menaces, giving commands or using coercion, or persuading a child under the age of 14 or a mentally incompetent person to engage in a criminal act.

The terms “aiding” and “abetting” are similar in legal context, but each carries a slightly different meaning. Aiding in a crime involves actively helping someone else to commit a crime, while abetting entails encouraging or inciting a criminal act. It’s important to note that abetting does not necessarily involve directly facilitating the execution of the criminal act.

Both aiding and abetting are considered crimes and fall under the category of accomplice liability. A conviction for either offense typically results in the same penalties as those for the underlying offense.

Although the term “aiding and abetting” is commonly used, either one alone is sufficient for liability. Whether you aid a criminal activity or abet it, you can be held responsible for the offense.


Like all criminal charges, the prosecution needs to successfully prove the elements of aiding and abetting beyond a reasonable doubt, the following must be established:

  • The crime was committed by a person other than yourself, referred to as “the perpetrator.”
  • You were aware of the perpetrator’s intention to commit a crime, whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Prior to or during the commission of the crime, you had the intention to assist, aid, or encourage the commission of the crime.
  • Prior to or during the commission of the crime, you had the intention to assist, aid, or encourage the commission of the crime.

Aiding and abetting refers to actions taken before and during a crime, whereas being an accessory after the fact occurs after the commission of the crime. Under California Penal Code Section 32, an individual can be charged as an accessory after the fact if they knowingly harbor, conceal, or assist a perpetrator who has committed a felony, with the intention of helping them avoid prosecution. It is important to note that this offense specifically pertains to actions taken after the commission of the crime.


Aiding a crime involves providing assistance or help to another person in the commission of a criminal act. While aiding and abetting are similar concepts, they have slight differences that collectively contribute to the completion of a crime.

To establish aiding, three elements need to be established. Firstly, the aid provided must be intentional. This means that the prosecution must prove that you were aware that your assistance would facilitate the commission of a crime. Secondly, the assistance must have been given voluntarily and not as a result of coercion, fraud, or deception. Lastly, the crime must have been successfully carried out, and the assistance you provided must have played a role in its execution.

Please note; being physically present at the scene of the crime is not a prerequisite for being charged with aiding, although not being present may serve as a possible defense against the charge.


There are two key differences between aiding and abetting a crime:

  • Act of Assistance: Aiding a crime requires the act of providing assistance to someone else in the commission of a crime, whereas abetting does not necessarily involve providing direct assistance.
  • Proof of Assistance: Aiding a crime requires evidence that the assistance provided actually helped in the commission of the crime, whereas for abetting, this proof is not necessary.

Despite these differences, there are several similarities between aiding and abetting:

  • Crime Committed by Another: Both aiding and abetting involve a crime being committed by another person.
  • Timing: Aiding or abetting occurs before the crime is committed.
  • Intent and Knowledge: Aiding or abetting liability requires the intent for the crime to happen, and knowledge that the perpetrator intends to commit the crime.
  • Physical Presence: While physical presence at the scene of a crime is a factor for aiding or abetting, it is not necessarily required for liability.

Examples of aiding and abetting a crime include encouraging someone to commit a crime, providing information or equipment knowing it will be used for the crime, assisting in the commission of the crime, acting as a lookout, or acting as a getaway driver.

It’s important to note that aiding and abetting a crime does not require one to be present at the scene of the crime. However, helping after the crime has occurred would be considered acting as an accessory after the fact.

Aiding and abetting a crime is, in itself, a crime. If someone aids and abets a crime, they can face the same punishment as the person who actually committed the crime.


The penalties for aiding or abetting a crime vary depending on the specific crime involved. In many states, including California, the penalties for aiding and abetting are the same as those for the actual perpetrator of the crime. This means that accomplices can be subject to the same prison term and fines as the principal offender.

In addition to the basic penalties, enhancements may also be imposed in certain cases. For example, if the underlying crime is classified as a hate crime or if a weapon was used during the commission of the crime, these factors can lead to additional penalties being added to the sentence.


When facing a charge of aiding and abetting a crime, there are several defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney can consider. These defenses aim to challenge the credibility of the prosecution’s evidence and version of events. Here are some common defenses:

  • Lack of Aid or Encouragement: A fundamental element of aiding and abetting is knowingly assisting or encouraging the commission of a crime. A viable defense could involve demonstrating that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time and had no intention to participate or encourage the crime.
  • Mere Presence: Even if you were aware that a crime was going to occur, if you had no legal obligation or authority to intervene and prevent its commission, this can be a defense.
  • Withdrawal: In certain cases, it may be possible to argue that you withdrew your support or involvement from the criminal activity. To use this defense, it is necessary to show that you made efforts to abandon the criminal activity, informed the perpetrator of your withdrawal, and took reasonable steps to prevent the crime from happening.
  • False Accusation: Sometimes, individuals facing their own criminal liability may falsely accuse others of participating in the crime in order to reduce their own punishment. This defense involves challenging the credibility of the accuser’s claims.
  • After the Commission: If you only provided assistance after the crime had been committed, you may be considered an accessory after the fact. This could potentially lead to a lesser penalty than for aiding and abetting a crime.

It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these defenses will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the laws in the jurisdiction where the charges are being brought.


It is essential to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing charges related to aiding and abetting. With the power of the state behind prosecutors, your rights and freedom are at stake. You can reach out to Cyrus Tabibnia at the Tabibnia Law firm for an initial consultation.

Mr. Tabibnia will develop your defense strategy as soon as he is informed of the case’s facts and evidence. If you or someone you know is facing aiding and abetting charges in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, or San Diego counties, Tabibnia Law firm is available to help. We will work towards a defense strategy that aims to have the charges dismissed or reduced. Call 866-713-2159


Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

    Get A Case Review Today

    Please prove you are human by selecting the plane.

    EXCELLENT rating
    Based on 39 reviews
    I would like to sincerely thank my attorney Cyrus Tabibnia and the Tabibnia Law firm for everything you have done for me and my family. Highly satisfied customers and excellent service is what you want when you hire an attorney. I was always treated with respect, if I needed anything or had any questions or concerns Mr. Tabibna was always available. I give a five-star rating as one of his clients and would honestly give a ten-star review if I could, because he is an awesome attorney worth every penny. I would highly recommend to anybody looking for a criminal defense attorney that Cyrus Tabibnia and his law firm be the one you consider
    Pharroh Knight
    Pharroh Knight
    2 April 2024
    Thank you for being so generous with your time and expertise and providing a legal consult! We really appreciate it
    Eli Elay
    Eli Elay
    6 February 2024
    My family had an urgent matter late on a Friday night. Cyrus took our call at 10p, listened to our situation, and answered all our questions. He was thorough in his explanations and addressed our concerns. What we appreciated the most was that he was not pushy and walked us through different approaches for our situation. We have not needed legal representation yet, but with Cyrus’ flexibility, transparency, and straight forwardness, we would highly recommend him.
    14 December 2023
    I had a DUI charge where I was having difficulties having an attorney give me the time of day to hear me about my case. I called different places and finally found Cyrus Tabibnia Law Firm a criminal Defense Attorney. I called him and he promptly returned my call. He sat down with me and listened to me, he understood my situation and gave me the peace of mind that lifted the stress I was going threw off my shoulders. He took control and walked me through everything. He explained the process of what to expect and what to do. Whenever I needed to talk to Cyrus, he made himself available to me. I was happy with the outcome of my case and would definitely recommend anyone to give Cyrus Tabibnia a call if they need a dependable criminal attorney to represent them.
    E T
    E T
    19 November 2023
    Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia has been outstanding in his knowledge and work related to legal matters. I have very much appreciated working with you.
    14 November 2023
    I have appreciated working professionally with Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia and his law firm on various cases that will assist his clients.
    Roxanna Rahban
    Roxanna Rahban
    14 November 2023
    Excellent Attorneys AND Customer service. They were patient, kind, and incredibly clear in their communications regarding my case and followed up promptly at each step of the process. I felt seen, heard and valued as a client and highly recommend this firm to anyone who is looking for kindness, professionalism and great results.
    Alexandra Sophia Marsalis
    Alexandra Sophia Marsalis
    14 November 2023
    Dedicated Attorney I have had the privilege of knowing attorney Cyrus Tabibnia since 2010, when he used to be a dedicated Board member at our local Bar Association in Los Angeles. He has always been respected by his colleagues for his legal contribution to the members of the Bar Association. While interacting with him professionally, I have found him to be a man of integrity, a competent counsel and zealous advocate for his clients in a variety of civil and criminal cases. Despite his busy professional schedule, Cyrus adheres to his family values and keeps his precious friendship with the rest of us. I am honored to call Cyrus a colleague and endorse him for the services that he offers to the public.
    Zaher Fallahi
    Zaher Fallahi
    14 November 2023
    I endorse the Tabibnia Law Firm. Mr. Tabibnia is colleague and staunch professional. He is clearly dedicated to his clients, craft, and practice. Do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Tabibnia for services.
    Daniel Forouzan
    Daniel Forouzan
    10 November 2023

    Recent Posts

    Practice Areas

    Locations We Serve