Prostitution is a major problem in America and it is one that many participate in without the knowledge of friends and family members. As a result, it is possible for these people to get caught with the offending party and to get accused of aiding and abetting their crime. Understanding this situation is important for knowing how to defend against it.
Understanding Aiding And Abetting
Aiding and abetting a crime requires that the accused person had the specific intent to help another person commit a crime, that they had they participated in the offense, and that somebody committed the offense. For example, a pimp could be considered aiding and abetting prostitution because they encouraged the offending person to commit the crime and received money as a result.
However, if someone simply drove a person that they weren't aware was a prostitute to an appointment with a John, this is not considered aiding and abetting because they had no intent of facilitating the crime. They simply believed they were giving a friend a ride. So intent and knowledge of the crime are the key elements.
The punishments for aiding and abetting prostitution will vary depending on the state. For example, in California it is considered a misdemeanor. Those who are convicted of it may end up being fined no more than $1,000 or spending no more than six months in jail. Some may receive both punishments in severe cases.
The worst part of this for the innocent party is simply being connected with the act in the first place. The embarrassment of being accused of such a crime is often intense and it can be difficult to live it down. However, defending against the claim properly can help minimize embarrassment and a loss of respect in a community.
Defending Against This Charge
When defending against aiding and abetting prostitution, it is important to know what this crime is not. For example, merely being at the scene of a crime does not make one guilty of aiding and abetting. So simply driving a friend somewhere, without knowledge of the crime they intend to commit, is not aiding and abetting. However, knowing that the person intends to commit prostitution and taking them there may count.
Simply understanding that the crime was about to be committed does not count either. For example, roommates of a prostitute cannot be charged simply for living with the offender. That said taking them to their appointments or even taking calls from potential Johns could be considered aiding and abetting.
Defending against this charge requires a skilled criminal attorney who understands criminal defense law well. They can help protect the innocently charged from defamation of character and monetary loss.