If I went to a store with a friend knowing that they were going to steal some make up and they got caught, can I be charged as well?

After she stole some we were stopped at the door, searched and read our rights by a police officer. We were given a court date for a misdemeanor in shoplifting. I want to know if I should be charged with a misdemeanor if I technically didn’t steal anything? Is it possible for me to fight it?

Asked on October 19, 2014 under Criminal Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Simply "knowing" that someone will  commit a crime is not generally a crime in and of itself. But offering *any* assistance, even passive assistance or support (such as holding items for the thief; helping watch out for store employees or security, or talking with store staff to distract them) can lead to accomplice and/or conspiracy-based liability. Dependinig on the specific facts, there may be enough to show that you were providing at least some minimal amount of support or assistance, and therefore would be criminally liable. If you are serious about trying to fight any charges (which is possible), you should retain an attorney to help you.

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