An aider and abetter in a criminal case is just as guilty as the principal who does the crime and is subject to the same criminal penalties as the principal. That means the getaway driver of the robbers is just as guilty as the robbers. Anyone who "before or during the commission crime intends to aid or abet the perpetrator" and by words or conduct does aid or abet the perpetrator in the commission of the crime is just as guilty as the perpetrator. (See CalCrim Jury Instruction 401).
This does not mean that the "aider and abetter" have to be treated the same as far as punishment if found guilty. Often times the aider and abetter may get a lesser sentence than the actual perpetrator depending on the facts and circumstances of the crime and the relative role each person played in the commission of the crime. That is why there may be different sentences in multiple defendant crimes. The treatment of the individual defendants is realted to their background, role in the crime and any other factors relevant to the defendant and or crime.
Multiple defendant criminal cases are often complicated by the number of defendants, their different roles, backgrounds, records, age and relative responsibility. When cases are resolved, each attorney tries to achieve the best result for their client. They may all end up pleading to the same charge but that is only half the battle, each may be treated significantly different from the others depending on all of the factors. Call Christoph Law Offices for a free consultation at 760-941-5720. We provide the highest level of personal and professional representation and have been located across from Vista Courts for over 32 years.