Most people know if they commit a crime they can be arrested. What many people do not know, is that even if you personally don’t commit the crime, you can still be arrested if the person you are with did. Under the law, a person can be charged with a crime committed by another person in a few ways, two of which we’ll discuss today.
Possession Of A Weapon Or Narcotics In A Vehicle
We often get into cars with other people and do not even consider what they may or may not have in the car. Unfortunately, doing this can sometimes lead to dire consequences.
Under New York State Law there is a presumption that if a controlled substance or a firearm is found in a vehicle, that everyone who is present in that vehicle knew about it. This is a particularly important issue to discuss with your children, who may think that just because they are not doing something wrong that they are immune to being arrested. Simply riding in a car that has narcotics or a firearm in it can lead to you getting arrested, charged with, and sometimes even convicted of a crime. If you’re interested in taking a look at the New York State Penal Law on these topics, please click here for the statute on controlled substances, or here for the statute on firearms.
With all that being said, even if you are arrested under this presumption, there are defenses available to you. There are a number of ways to defend against this presumption and any charges that come with it, and we will discuss them more thoroughly in a future article devoted specifically to that topic.
Acting In Concert
Oftentimes people hear the phrase “acting in concert with another” but have no idea what that means. When someone is charged under the theory of acting in concert, they are just as culpable for the crime as the person who physically committed it. As I’m sure you’re asking yourself, how can I possibly be charged for the actions of another person? Well, under New York State Law an individual can be held accountable for the actions of another person when they “…solicit, request, command, importune, or intentionally aid [another] person to engage…” in criminal conduct. You can read the statute governing this here.
With that being said, simply being at the same location as a person committing a crime will not necessarily subject you to being found guilty. Before you can be convicted, the prosecutor will have to show that you committed one of the above referenced actions. I will discuss the prosecutor’s burden of proof in a future article. However, simply because you may not be convicted of the crime does not mean you won’t get arrested for the crime.
Again, this is something that is very important to discuss with your high-school and college aged children. Make sure that they know they should think twice before spending time with their friends who are doing drugs in the local park or standing by their friends as they rob another individual. If a person is identified as someone who was involved in a crime, they are oftentimes detained while the police conduct their investigation. In fact, simply being present at incidents such as these can lead a person to being arrested, arraigned, and then having to deal with a criminal case which can stretch out for months.
I hope this information has been helpful.
All the best.