Every year, nearly 900,000 violent and property crimes are committed in the state of Texas. That means a violent crime is committed every five minutes and property crimes are committed every 41 seconds or less. From murder and assault to burglary and theft, these crimes are all subject to punishment by state or federal criminal law.

Even if you didn’t directly commit a crime, you can still face criminal punishment if the court finds you guilty of assisting or encouraging another individual to do so. This type of illegal involvement is referred to as Aiding and Abetting and is a punishable offense under criminal law.

Aiding and abetting under Texas law

Under the Penal Code Title 2 Chapter 7, not only are are you liable for any crime you directly commit, but you also can be found criminally responsible for crimes conducted by another if:

  • You cause or assist an innocent or nonresponsible person to engage in any type of conduct that’s prohibited by the offense.  
  • You intentionally promote or assist in the offense by soliciting, encouraging, directing, aiding or attempting to aid another individual in committing the crime.
  • You hold a legal duty to prevent crime and fail to make a reasonable effort to stop it from being committed.

In the state of Texas, aiding and abetting laws also apply if, while being involved in a criminal conspiracy, another felony is committed, and you will be charged as if you actually did the crime. Even if you enter into the conspiracy with no intent to commit it or cause harm to another person or their property and a crime occurs, you will be held responsible and charged under Texas state criminal law.

The punishment for aiding and abetting

If you’re found helping someone commit, conceal, or elude from a felony, you yourself may are subjected to being charged with the entirety of the criminal act. For example, if you drive the getaway car for an armed robbery or live in a house with roommates involved in the drug trade, you can be charged, found guilty, and punished the same as those who actually committed the robbery or sold the drugs. In general, the following offenses are subject the specific punishments:

  • A first-degree felony, like theft of more than $200,000 worth of property or aggravated sexual assault is punishable by five to 99 or life in prison, along with a $10,000 fine.
  • A second-degree felony, such as property theft between the amount of $100,000 and $200,000, aggravated assault, or reckless injury to a child, is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • A third-degree felony, like property theft between the amount of $10,000 and $100,000 or a drive-by shooting with no injury, is punishable by two to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
  • A state jail felony, such as petty theft and credit or debit card abuse is subject to 180 days to 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Again, even if you don’t directly intend to commit these crimes, you can still be found guilty of these crimes by association, aka by aiding and abetting. If you’re looking for a reputable aiding and abetting crime lawyer in Austin, contact the professionals at Harron Law. As one of Austin, Texas’ top criminal defense lawyers, the Harron Law team knows just what it takes to fight for your rights. Learn more about what Eric Harron and the Harron Law team can do for you, today.