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What is the exact defination for the law aiding and abetting? I mean where can i look for it on the internet? How does one have

North Hills, CA |

to do to be charged with it in Pa...

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Attorney answers 3


Often the best way to learn/understand the elements of a crime is to look at the Jury Instructions. They show what elements must be proven to the jury in order for the jury to convict the person of that particular crime. See below for the jury instruction for aiding and abetting. This should help.

401. Aiding and Abetting: Intended Crimes

To prove that the defendant is guilty of a crime based on aiding and abetting that crime, the People must prove that:

1. The perpetrator committed the crime;

2. The defendant knew that the perpetrator intended to commit the crime;

3. Before or during the commission of the crime, the defendant intended to aid and abet the perpetrator in committing the crime;


4. The defendant's words or conduct did in fact aid and abet the perpetrator's commission of the crime.

Someone aids and abets a crime if he or she knows of the perpetrator's unlawful purpose and he or she specifically intends to, and does in fact, aid, facilitate, promote, encourage, or instigate the perpetrator's commission of that crime.

If all of these requirements are proved, the defendant does not need to actually have been present when the crime was committed to be guilty as an aider and abettor.

[If you conclude that defendant was present at the scene of the crime or failed to prevent the crime, you may consider that fact in determining whether the defendant was an aider and abettor. However, the fact that a person is present at the scene of a crime or fails to prevent the crime does not, by itself, make him or her an aider and abettor.]


Aiding and Abetting is a common law term. For general "ancillary participants" if you will, the California Penal Code sections 31 & 32 outline PRINCIPALS and ACCESSORIES.

Other places in the Penal code use the "aiding and abetting" common law term because its in the American Lexicon.

Curt Harrington
Patent & Tax Law Attorney
Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization

This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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The searchable Penal Code is found:


You posted your question in the California section, but asked about it under PA law. If that was not a typo and you're asking about Pennsylvania law, repost under the correct state so it is more likely to be seen by attorneys that practice in that state.

If it was a typo and you're asking about California law, see the link below for additional information beyond what has already been posted.

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