It is possible that when a crime is committed, a person can actively participate in the commission of a crime but does not participate or commit the actual crime itself. Such an individual is called an accomplice. An accomplice is present during the actual criminal offense and can be prosecuted with the same charges brought against the actual perpetrator of the crime.
Also known as an abettor, an accomplice is as guilty as the individual who committed the crime. For instance, a team of 2 people may be involved in a bank robbery. One of the 2 may commit the actual robbery by taking the money, while the other acts as a watch or ensures that people in the bank do not interfere with the robbery. The former is the actual criminal, while the latter is the accomplice. The accomplice violates the law of aiding and abetting under Title 18, Section 2 of the United States Code.
Under the aforementioned U.S.C., aiding and abetting as committed by an accomplice is fulfilled by 3 elements. The first element involves the actual violation as committed by the principal, or actual criminal, which pertains to the actual crime that he or she was an accomplice to. The second element involves the knowledge and deliberate facilitation of such a violation, meaning that he or she directly and actively participated in making the offense successfully happen. The third element is the assistance or help provided to the principal in the violation, referring to the actual role or actions taken by the accomplice.