If I take a neighbor shopping since she no longer drives and she was caught shoplifting, could I be considered an accomplice?

She was recently caught shoplifting at a store within walking distance of where we live.

Asked on November 15, 2012 under Criminal Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You could certainly be charged as an accomplice. To be an accomplice requires a criminal intent--in this case, an intent to further or help the crime. If you are the driver for a known shoplifter, the police could certainly believe that you intended to help her and charge you. You'd only be convicted if the authorities could then, in trial, show that you intended to help her shoplift, or alternately--and here's where it gets worse for you--that you knowingly disregarded a substantial risk that you'd be aiding a crime (that is, you disregarded a substantial risk that she would shoplift). Therefore, doing this could expose you to criminal prosecution and potentially even criminal liability.

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