Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

If I go to a store with a friend and my friend shoplifts without my knowledge can I be held accountable for another's actions?

Asked on 11/16/12, 2:25 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Robert Marshall Law Office of Robert L, Marshall

In order to convict you, the District Attorney would have to prove you knew your "friend" intended to steal something, and that you knew of the plan and somehow assisted him. Just being there when somebody else does something illegal isn't a crime.

However, that doesn't mean you couldn't be arrested, hauled off to jail, prosecuted, and even convicted if a jury believed you were involved with your so-called friend's theft.

Bottom line: choose your friends carefully, and stay away from idiots who would put you in this kind of position.

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Answered on 11/16/12, 2:33 pm

Theresa Hofmeister Theresa Hofmeister, Attorney At Law

excellent advice ;) ... if you really did not know anything about it & were not involved before or after the event, you 'should' not be held accountable ...but it all comes down to what a Judge, jury or prosecutor believe is reasonable.

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Answered on 11/16/12, 3:03 pm
Zadik Shapiro Law Offices of C. Zadik Shapiro

I agree with Mr. Marshall and Ms Hofmeister but you should know but many people in the position you describe are charged as co-conspirators on the basis that the police officer or the store clerk believes they are acting as a watch out for the person actually making the theft. Right now I am involved in a four defendant case where two of the defendants are not alleged to have taken anything.

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Answered on 11/17/12, 1:37 am

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