If I went to a store with my friend and he purchased something using a stolen credit card and we walk out together but I have no involvement in the usage of the card, have I done anything illegal?

Asked on September 23, 2015 under Criminal Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF you truly did nothing regarding the stolen card or use thereof, or had no involvement in what your friend did, you are not criminally liable. The law does not make person A guilty because he/she was with person B, who committed a crime, and also does not affirmatively require A to report B's criminal activity. 
That's the law. But practically, if you there is reason to think that you did anything to help your friend--e.g. discussed what he/she was going to do and helped plan it or offered advice acted as a look-out for your friend even helped carry stolen goods--then you could face criminal charges, such as for aiding or abetting, or for conspiracy. So even very minor participation could make you criminally liable, and even if you did not do in fact do anything criminal, if there is evidence from which the authorities could infer you helped your friend, or if your friend, for example, is caught and chooses to testify against you "It was all his/her idea..." to save him/hersself, you could have problems.

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