What is an Accomplice?

Under Nevada law (NRS 195) you cannot be charged as an Accomplice in a crime.  This is because the state does not recognize a difference between a person who “aids and abets” a criminal act, and a person who physically performs a criminal act.  Both are considered “principals” of the crime “whether the person directly commits the act…or aids or abets in its commission.”

As opposed to an Accessory After the Fact who learns of the commission of a criminal act after its completion, an Accomplice knows about the criminal act prior to its completion and “aids and abets” in the crime’s commission through direct or indirect counsel, encouragement, or hiring or otherwise providing another person to commit a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor.  Both the accomplice and the perpetrator of the crime will be charged with the same crime.

Aiding and Abetting

Examples of Aiding and Abetting a crime include:

  • Acting as a lookout while a crime is committed
  • Providing escape for the criminal, such as driving a getaway vehicle
  • Knowingly and falsely providing an alibi for someone who committed a crime
  • Knowingly providing information used to commit a crime
  • Committing mail, bank, or wire fraud
  • Assisting in a kidnapping

Punishments for Aiding and Abetting

Since an accomplice and a perpetrator are charged with the same crime, the punishments for the underlying crime apply to both.  Aiding and abetting a robbery, for example, results charges of robbery for both perpetrator and accomplice.

In one case, second degree kidnapping, the law (NRS 200.340) sets forth the same prison term of 2 to 15 years in state prison but does not impose the fine of up to $15,000 for aiding and abetting the kidnapping.

Defenses to charges of Aiding and Abetting

Being at the scene of a crime, or even knowing that a crime is being committed does not qualify as aiding and abetting.  The key is having intent to commit a crime and actively participating in the crime.

Knowing or associating with someone who commits a crime is not enough to qualify as an accomplice, even knowing that the crime was to be committed, unless you were actively involved in the criminal act.

You could be accused of aiding and abetting after the crime had taken place.  If you had no knowledge of the crime prior to its occurrence, you could be charged as accessory after the fact, but not as an accomplice.

You may have gotten cold feet and withdrawn from the crime prior to its commission.  If you have informed other parties to the crime of your withdrawal; and attempted to prevent the crime by notifying police, your attorney can move that the charges be dropped.

In every criminal case, it is up to the state to prove its accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Defenders can help

The lawyers of The Defenders will provide a vigorous and strong defense to charges of Aiding and Abetting.  Ryan Helmick and his team will structure a defense to protect your rights under the law.  Call our office today at (702) 333-3333.

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NRS 195

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