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Can you get arrested for helping someone leave the scene of a crime?

It’s clear to you that acting as a knowing “getaway driver” for someone who has committed a crime is illegal. You think of a driver sitting in a running car in front of a bank, for instance, waiting for two accomplices to run out with bags of money. That driver still participated in the crime, even if they didn’t directly rob the bank.

But what if it’s not as obvious as that? Say a friend asks you for a ride home from the mall. You pick them up and then find out that they were shoplifting. Can you get into legal trouble as a result?

Did you know that they broke the law?

The big question here is how much you knew about the alleged crime. If you knew that your friend robbed a store and you quickly picked them up before the police arrived, you are at least an accomplice to the crime. On the other hand, if you had no idea they did anything wrong and just thought you were spending time with your friend, you may be able to show that you did nothing illegal personally. 

These questions arose after an Uber driver helped a man escape after robbing a gas station, for instance. The police tracked down the car and arrested the Uber driver. When the details of the case became clear, though — and the fact that the driver was just responding to a call through the app — the only person who was sentenced was the one who actually robbed the gas station. 

Don’t take chances

This type of case can be complicated. You may insist you knew nothing and the police may say you were a willing accomplice. Don’t take any chances. Learn what legal options you have. Speaking with a defense attorney is one of the best ways to protect your future.