Can someone go to jail for being a driver in crime that they had no knowledge was about to happen?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can someone go to jail for being a driver in crime that they had no knowledge was about to happen?

They drove to a location and the passengers got out and told the driver to go wait somewhere else and the

passengers walk up to a house and shoot up the house with three people inside. No one was hurt. Now what will happen the driver who didnt know that was about to take place? And what action should they take as far as needing a lawyer?

Asked on May 26, 2017 under Criminal Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF the driver either knew or reasonably (given the facts, etc.) shold have known of the crime, then he is an accomplice and could be charged with it. The driver may not have known it was happening in advance, but once he heard or saw the shots, he was aware a crime was being committed; at that point he should have left and not driven the passengers anywhere. If he did drive them after the shooting, he may have helped them get away or escape from a crime scene and could be criminally liable (basically as their "getaway driver"). The key will be whether:
1) Before the shooting, *should* he have known or suspecte what was going on? Were the passengers talking about what they'd do? Did he see them checking or flashing weapons? Etc.
2) Was the driver someplace where he could either see or hear the shots?
3) If he drove them after, did they run to the car in a suspicious manner? Did they have visible weapons? In his car, did they talk about what was done?
If at any point the driver did or reasonably should have known what was going on, but he kept driving them, he may have been an accomplice. If the driver feels there is any chance that the police would interpret, based on the facts, that he helped the shooters, he should get an attorney.
On the other hand if there truly was NO reason--before, during, or as they were leaving--for the driver to know of what was happening, then we would not be criminally liable: his actions would not be criminal without knowledge of a crime.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption