Aiding and Abetting Defense Attorneys in Orlando, FL

If you have ever watched a mob movie or crime TV, you have likely heard the term aiding and abetting. While much television is glamorized fiction, aiding and abetting is an actual crime with severe consequences. Florida law, as in many other states, treats aiding and abetting offenses harshly. Because an aiding and abetting charge typically rests on a principal charge, the law usually moves sharply and swiftly in prosecuting these offenses. You must obtain an aiding and abetting lawyer immediately, and Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law are ready to help.

Florida Aiding and Abetting Law

Orlando Aiding and Abetting Attorneys

Aiding and abetting is a charge that is often referred to as “accessory after the fact.” In Florida, you could face an aiding and abetting charge if you maintain or assist the principal or an accessory before the fact. You can also face this charge if you provide any other aid, knowing that the offender committed a crime.

In other words, it is a crime to assist someone who has committed a crime. To be charged, the principal must complete the underlying crime you are accused of helping. Notably, you do not have to witness the crime to face charges.

Elements of the Offense

As with any criminal charge, the prosecuting attorney must prove all essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, to be convicted of aiding and abetting, the prosecutor must prove the following: 

  • The principal committed the underlying crime,
  • The defendant assisted the principal either before or after,
  • The defendant knew the principal had committed the crime after the fact, and
  • The defendant helped the principal escape detection or avoided arrest, trial, or punishment.

The prosecutor must prove all four elements beyond a reasonable doubt to win a conviction. 

It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove that you knew—or that a reasonable person in your shoes would have known—that a crime was committed by the individual you were assisting.

Aiding and Abetting Examples

There are infinite ways that someone could be an accessory to a crime. However, typical examples include the following:

  • Encouraging or persuading another person to commit a crime,
  • Acting as a lookout,
  • Lying to the police to help the person who committed the crime,
  • Working as a get-away driver, or 
  • Allowing an individual who committed a crime to hide from police in your home.   

Law enforcement frowns upon anyone disrupting their investigations. Contact Moses and Rooth immediately if you are accused of aiding and abetting.

Florida Related Person Exemption

Under Florida law, a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister,  or a person otherwise related by blood or marriage to the principal actor cannot be charged with aiding and abetting under most circumstances. However, extended family members could face charges, including aunts, uncles, or cousins.

What is the rationale behind the related person or family exemption? The reasoning is that it is unrealistic to expect family members to turn in their spouse, child, parent, etc. The duty to one’s family will often outweigh any responsibility a person might feel toward their moral or legal obligations. As a result of these public policy concerns, the Florida legislature has carved out this exemption to aiding and abetting. 

Exception to the Exemption

There is an important caveat to the exemption. If the crime involves child neglect, child abuse, or results in the death of a child, the related person exemption does not apply. Any family member, regardless of whether they are immediate or not, can be charged.

Statutory Penalty for Aiding and Abetting

A conviction for aiding and abetting could result in lengthy prison sentences, steep fines, and other unfavorable consequences. The precise sentence for aiding and abetting depends on the severity of the principal underlying crime. In other words, if you are convicted of assisting someone who committed a first-degree felony, you will likely be sentenced more harshly than if they committed a third-degree felony offense.

If an individual is accused of aiding and abetting someone charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, the following penalties apply: 

  • Up to 1 year in jail,
  • Up to a $1,000 fine, or
  • A combination of the above.

If an individual is accused of aiding and abetting someone charged with a second or third-degree felony, they face:

  • Up to 5 years in prison,
  • Up to $5,000 in fines, or
  • A combination of the above.

If an individual is accused of aiding and abetting someone charged with a first-degree felony, the potential penalties include the following:

  • Up to 15 years in prison,
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, or
  • A combination of the above.

If an individual is accused of aiding and abetting someone charged with a capital offense, they face:

  • Up to 30 years in prison,
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, or
  • A combination of the above.

There is no doubt aiding and abetting jail time can be significant. In addition to long prison sentences, expensive fines, and lengthy probationary periods, an aiding and abetting conviction will appear on your criminal record. A conviction can also have lifelong negative collateral consequences—such as preventing you from getting a good job or obtaining a bank loan. 


If you are accused of aiding and abetting a crime, there may be evidence stacked against you. Even if it looks hopeless to you, all is not lost. A skilled attorney can assess the facts to see if you have a viable defense. Common defenses to an aiding and abetting charge include the following:

  • Duress: This means that you did not voluntarily assist the principal because you did so under force or threat of harm;
  • Withdrawal or abandonment: This applies if you changed your mind and withdrew your consent to assist the principal;
  • False accusation: This applies if the police got it wrong and you did not know that the principal committed a crime. 

Meet with our team to begin strategizing your defense.

Orlando Aiding and Abetting Attorney

We have spent time on both sides of the aisle at Moses and Rooth. We have a unique insight and understanding of what the prosecutor must prove to get a conviction. Let us put our experience and knowledge to work advocating for you. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation confidential consultation.