Can parents get in trouble for the actions of their children? Without a doubt, the answer is yes. This is especially true if—as appears to be the case in the above video—the child is an instrument of the parents’ control.
Using your child to steal is a questionable life strategy, and it’s definitely not a way to avoid prosecution. The concept of accomplice liability can vary by state, but here’s how it works in Indiana:
A person who knowingly or intentionally aids, induces, or causes another person to commit an offense commits that offense, even if the other person:
- Has not been prosecuted;
- Has not been convicted; or
- Has been acquitted.
Using your kid as an agent of your misbehavior is not going to protect you from criminal liability because, as the statute says, the accomplice is treated as if they themselves committed the offense.
If the porch theft shown in the video had occurred in Indiana, the child would obviously not be prosecuted in adult court—but mom and dad might be. They could be charged with misdemeanor or felony theft, depending on what’s in the package. Theft starts as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Bottom line: Don’t use kids to commit crimes. That’s solid advice in almost every situation. If you have any questions about accomplice liability, porch piracy, or theft in general, call the Marc Lopez Law Firm at 317-632-3642 and remember—always plead the 5th!