CALCRIM No. 400. Aiding and Abetting: General Principles

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

Download PDF
400.Aiding and Abetting: General Principles
A person may be guilty of a crime in two ways. One, he or she may have
directly committed the crime. I will call that person the perpetrator.
Two, he or she may have aided and abetted a perpetrator, who directly
committed the crime.
A person is guilty of a crime whether he or she committed it personally
or aided and abetted the perpetrator.
[Under some specific circumstances, if the evidence establishes aiding
and abetting of one crime, a person may also be found guilty of other
crimes that occurred during the commission of the first crime.]
New January 2006; Revised June 2007, August 2009, April 2010
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on aiding and abetting when the
prosecutor relies on it as a theory of culpability. (People v. Beeman (1984) 35
Cal.3d 547, 560-561 [199 Cal.Rptr. 60, 674 P.2d 1318].)
When the prosecution is relying on aiding and abetting, give this instruction before
other instructions on aiding and abetting to introduce this theory of culpability to the
An aider and abettor may be found guilty of a different crime or degree of crime
than the perpetrator if the aider and abettor and the perpetrator do not have the same
mental state. (People v. Samaniego (2009) 172 Cal.App.4th 1148, 1166 [91
Cal.Rptr.3d 874]; People v. Woods (1992) 8 Cal.App.4th 1570, 1577-1578 [11
Cal.Rptr.2d 231]; People v. McCoy (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1111, 1115-1116 [108
Cal.Rptr.2d 188, 24 P.3d 1210].)
If the prosecution is also relying on the natural and probable consequences doctrine,
the court should also instruct with the last bracketed paragraph. Depending on which
theories are relied on by the prosecution, the court should then instruct as follows.
Intended Crimes (Target Crimes)
If the prosecution’s theory is that the defendant intended to aid and abet the crime
or crimes charged (target crimes), give CALCRIM No. 401, Aiding and Abetting:
Intended Crimes.
Natural & Probable Consequences Doctrine (Non-Target Crimes)
If the prosecution’s theory is that any of the crimes charged were committed as a
natural and probable consequence of the target crime, CALCRIM No. 402 or 403
should also be given. If both the target and non-target crimes are charged, give
CALCRIM No. 402, Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine (Target and
Non-Target Offenses Charged). In some cases, the prosecution may not charge the
target crime but only the non-target crime. In that case, give CALCRIM No. 403,
Natural and Probable Consequences (Only Non-Target Offense Charged).
Aiding and Abetting Defined. People v. Beeman (1984) 35 Cal.3d 547, 560-561
[199 Cal.Rptr. 60, 674 P.2d 1318].
Murder Not Complete Until Victim Dies. People v. Celis (2006) 141 Cal.App.4th
466, 471-474 [46 Cal.Rptr.3d 139].
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Introduction to Crimes,
§§ 94-97.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.03[2][d] (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140,
Challenges to Crimes, § 140.10 (Matthew Bender).

© Judicial Council of California.