What is a driver’s criminal liability if without their knowledge their passenger was carrying a gun?

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What is a driver’s criminal liability if without their knowledge their passenger was carrying a gun?

My daughter picked up her boyfriend in a car and then she picked up his brother. The police pulled her over for speeding and they searched the car. Her boyfriend’s brother had a gun in his backpack and all 3 got arrested. The boyfriend and my daughter had no knowledge there was a gun in his back back. She is at central booking. Is she looking at jail time? She has never been in trouble.

Asked on August 3, 2013 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A person is not liable for the criminal acts of another unless she in some way participated in, assisted, conspired, etc. in regards to those acts. So in theory, if your daughter did not know about the gun, she should face no liability. In practice, if the evidence tends to show that she did know (e.g. her boyfriend or his brother implicate her for some reason), she could be charged and potentially convicted. You should retain a criminal defense attorney to help her.


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