Difference Between Aiding and Abetting and Being an Accessory


Aiding and abetting a crime and being an accessory to a crime are both criminal offenses that carry a criminal charge that often includes jail time. Both charges may bring the need for both a bail bondsman and a criminal defense attorney. While both crimes include assisting a person in committing a crime, there are differences in the definitions of the charges. Let us take a closer look at this subject.

The difference between “Accessory to a Crime” and “Aiding and Abetting a Crime”

To aid and abet in a crime is to encourage, entice, or otherwise help someone else commit the crime. To be guilty of this act, one does not have to be present when the crime is committed. A person is guilty of the charge even if they only suggest the act of commission. When a person assists in a crime, they are also criminally charged with either being an accomplice or an accessory. This is where the definition differences apply legally. The definition of being an accessory to a crime is to help or contribute to the commission or hiding of a criminal act. Assisting, planning, or encouraging someone to commit the crime is considered an accessory before the fact. Helping someone escape or evade arrest or punishment is considered an accessory after the fact. Participating in the actual crime is not necessary in order to be considered an accessory. Whether charged with accessory before or after the fact, there are stiff legal consequences associated with either of the charges. Being legally considered an accomplice to crime also includes intentional or voluntary assistance in the commission of a criminal act. There are two main differences between this act and being an accessory. In most cases, an accessory is present at the time of the crime. Additionally, the person charged is often subject to the same punishment as the person who committed the crime while an accessory is often charged less harshly. However, either one of these crimes of aiding, or helping someone else commit a crime in any way, shape, or form, poses legal consequences for the offender.

Need for and Purpose of a Bail Bondsman

A criminal charge for crimes of aiding most often result in arrest and jail time. When a judge orders a bail amount, it is usually a high amount that is set. Often, defendants enlist the assistance of bail bondsmen to post their bail amounts so that they may remain free until their future court dates occur. The bail bondsman goes before the judge, representing a company and acting on behalf of the defendant, promising to pay the remainder of the bail amount should the defendants fail to appear at their future court date. Many people who help someone else commit a crime to enlist the assistance of a bail bondsman after they are charged and arrested.

Need for and Purpose of a Defense Attorney

When charged with a criminal offense, it is always in the defendant’s best interest to hire an attorney to help. A criminal defense attorney is representing and acting on behalf of the defendant. The attorney helps ensure the defendant’s rights are not violated, and assists in helping the defendant get the lightest sentence possible. An attorney possesses the knowledge and experience to accomplish this goal for the defendant he represents. Although there are differences in aiding and abetting, as well as in being an accomplice or accessory, they are all against the law. When a person breaks the law to this extent, it usually results in arrest and conviction. Enlisting the help of a bail bondsman and an attorney may become essential.