Can someone who never entered a store be charged with shoplifting?

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Can someone who never entered a store be charged with shoplifting?

A family member and her partner shoplifted and I was the driver. I did not walk out of the store with anything. But I still got ticketed. My cousin’s boyfriend said it was all his fault that he did everything and that we had nothing to do with it. He said it was his idea.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As the driver, you can be charged as an accessory after the fact to shoplifting by helping the shoplifters escape.  In some states, an accessory after the fact is called an accomplice.

An accomplice is one who aids or assists or is an accessory.  An accomplice is a person who knowingly, voluntarily and with common intent with the principal offender unites in the commission of a crime.  An accomplice is one who is guilty of complicity in the crime charged, either by being present and having aided and abetted in it or having advised and encouraged it though absent from the place when it was committed.

Since you were the driver, you are liable as an accomplice for aiding and abetting the escape of the perpetrators who entered the store and shoplifted.


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