CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE CONDUCT OF ANOTHER Section 7.02 Penal Code:
There are situations where a person may be held criminally responsible for the conduct of someone else. This is called the “Law of Parties.” This is truly a way where a person’s friends can get him in trouble with the law. A person can be held criminally responsible for the conduct of another if the person intentionally does an act which solicits, encourages, directs, aids or attempts to aid another in the commission of an offense. Furthermore, if the offense is a felony, and during the commission of this felony a new felony offense occurs, everyone involved the criminal activity is responsible for both felony offenses. This is true even if only one person intended to commit the new (second) felony offense.
Joe Public and his friend Ron decide to do some shopping at the local mall. Ron has had his eye on a particular shirt for the past two months. Unfortunately, Ron has not been able to save up the $65 to buy the shirt. Ron decides to use the “five finger discount” method to purchase the shirt. Ron hides the shirt in the coat he wore into the store. Ron tells Joe to look out for any security personal. Joe says O.K. Just as they start to leave the store, both Joe and Ron are stopped by mall security. Both guys are arrested for Theft. Joe is arrested for Theft even though it was not his idea to steal the shirt nor was he going to get the shirt. Joe did not benefit from the theft of the shirt in any way. Joe is arrested for Theft because he aided Ron (by being a lookout) in the theft of the shirt.
A person can also be held criminally responsible for the action of another even if the person did not know the person was going to commit the crime.
Joe Public and his friend Kevin, decided they are going to break into a local trading card shop to steal merchandise. Once they are inside the store, they start filling a pillow case they brought with them with sports memorabilia. But to their surprise, the owner of the store is driving by and sees the guys inside the closed store. Joe and Kevin are caught red handed. Joe takes one of the autographed bats he intended to steal and hits the owner over the head. The guys did not know they were caught on the store security video camera. Both guys are arrested for Burglary of a Building and both are arrested for Aggravated Assault. Even though Joe is the one who hit the owner in the head with the bat, the assault offense was committed in the commission of a felony burglary. Both offenses are felonies. Regardless of the fact that Kevin did not know Joe was going to use the bat as a weapon, he will be charged with the offense of Aggravated Assault. Kevin should have anticipated an assault could occur during the burglary.