Encouraging criminal activity.
How Abet Works
As a criminal charge, abet falls under a charge of aiding and abetting. Abetting is an accomplice crime, but the court can raise the charge to the level of conspiracy. If you are accused of abetting, the court sees you as someone who encouraged the criminal activity to take place. The definition of abetting can vary in different states, but this is what legal systems generally recognize as the definition.
In order for someone to be charged with abetting, a court would need to prove that the crime:
- Was actually committed,
- The accused helped the person who committed the crime intentionally,
- The accused intended to facilitate the crime, and
- The accused committed abetment prior to the completion of the crime.
If the court accuses you of aiding and abetting, you are allowed to use the defense of withdrawal (in some states). For example, “I did think it was a good idea at first, but then I tried to convince them not to do it.” If you do use this defense, you must prove that you withdrew your support of the crime. This is not easy to do unless you have clear evidence. Still, even without evidence, it could help reduce a sentence.
Real-World Example of Abet
In the Supreme Court case Rosemond v. United States, Justus Rosemond was accused of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm (Law.Cornell.edu). Two men, Ricardo Gonzales and Coby Painter fled the scene of a drug deal without paying Rosemond and his two cohorts for a pound of marijuana. Roseman chased down the two men in his truck and someone (one of the three occupants of the truck) shot at Gonzales from Roseman’s car.
After one of his cohorts submitted a written statement naming Roseman as the shooter, the US charged Roseman on four different counts. Count II was that he used and discharged a firearm relating to a drug-trafficking event. Count II had two different theories: that Roseman shot the gun or he aided and abetted (helped and encouraged) someone to shoot the gun.
At the trial, the cohort who submitted the letter contradicted her claim and said that either Roseman or the other occupant fired the gun. Gonzales and Painter just said someone from the truck fired the gun. Whether or not Roseman encouraged an occupant to fire the gun, the jury found him guilty on all counts. For Count II, Roseman was sentenced to 120 months in prison.
Abet vs. Aiding
Though under one criminal charge, aiding refers to supporting a crime to varying degrees. This could be anything from selling materials used to commit the crime, to intentionally opening the bank door to let someone rob it. Abetting is strictly the encouragement of a crime.
Abet vs. ABET
Abet is not an acronym—it is a verb. ABET is an acronym for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. ABET is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that is in charge of accrediting college and university programs in engineering and technology, natural and applied science, and computing programs. They do not accredit anything higher than bachelor’s degree programs inside the United States.