This a hypothetical question but one that I think is interesting. If someone was a getaway driver involved in a bank robbery could they be charged for more than reckless driving, would they be an accomplice, or could they be charged with something else?

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    This needs a location specified. Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 16:06
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    "Asking for a friend"
    – Barmar
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 16:23
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    Please tell me that you're not typing this one-handed while careening down the motorway...
    – Richard
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 0:34
  • Apparently dog the bounty hunter was convicted of first degree murder but only served 18 months. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duane_Chapman#Early_life
    – JakeP
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 9:17

3 Answers 3


In New South Wales, Australia a getaway driver is a “principal in the second degree”

Under s345 of the Crimes Act 1900:

Every principal in the second degree in any serious indictable offence shall be liable to the same punishment to which the person would have been liable had the person been the principal in the first degree.

So, they can (and will) be charged with everything that the guys in the bank are charged with.

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    The most extreme case: The getaway driver would be charged with murder if the police entered the building and one of the bankrobbers were shot. If someone dies in a bankrobbery then the robbers are guilty of murder. Even if it was one of the robbers who died. Even if you are the getaway driver and were not even in the bank.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 1:06
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    Why does this answer provide the relevant Australian law? OP did not mention anything about Australia
    – Cherona
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 6:28
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    @Cherona: The OP also did not mention anything about not Australia. Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 6:58
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    @JörgWMittag then he should mention that it is an Australian law
    – Cherona
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 9:13
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    @Cherona even if the OP had requested a jurisdiction, answered from any other jurisdiction are encouraged on this site. The site exists not only to answer individual’s questions, but serve as a resource for others.
    – Dale M
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 10:46

In the US: conspiracy, complicity, plus any statutes that have been engineered to include this kind of thing within their ambit. Depending on the jurisdiction the getaway driver may be on the hook for felony murder, too, if the main bank robbers kill someone while robbing the bank.

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    "the getaway driver may be on the hook for felony murder, too, if the main bank robbers kill someone while robbing the bank" Or if someone dies in a predictable fashion as a result of the robbery, like a security guard shooting at the robbers, missing, and hitting a bystander.
    – nick012000
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 6:26
  • @nick012000 also true, excellent point
    – user36183
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 16:23
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    In Texas, up to and including capital murder. PE7.02(b) "If, in the attempt to carry out a conspiracy to commit one felony, another felony is committed by one of the conspirators, all conspirators are guilty of the felony actually committed, though having no intent to commit it, if the offense was committed in furtherance of the unlawful purpose and was one that should have been anticipated as a result of the carrying out of the conspiracy." Example: expressnews.com/news/local/article/…
    – shoover
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 21:04
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    Nick: Or the security guard shooting at a robber and not missing.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 23:59
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    @gnasher729 That too
    – user36183
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 0:39

In English law there are no limits to the number of people that can be considered to have primary or secondary liability under the common-law principle of 'Joint Enterprise'. So-call 'Secondaries' (for example getaway drivers) can be charged alongside 'Primaries' (the robber/s themselves) and receive the same sentence, although a cursory look at cases would suggest that they typically receive lighter sentences, especially if they give evidence against the primaries.

Note that where new offences occur during the same crime (such as dangerous driving during an escape that results in injuries to members of the public or police), the CPS would take into account the difficulty of proving that the other parties were actively responsible for their driving decisions.

Where two or more persons are involved in an offence, the parties to the offence may be principals (D1) or secondary parties (accessories ) (D2). Each offence will have at least one principal, although it is not always possible or necessary to identify the principal(s).

A principal is one who carries out the substantive offence i.e. performs or causes the actus reus of the offence with the required mens rea. If two or more persons do so, they are joint principals.

A secondary party is one who aids, abets, counsels or procures (commonly referred to as assists or encourages) D1 to commit the substantive offence, without being a principal offender. However, a secondary party can be prosecuted and punished as if he were a principal offender: s8 Accessories and Abettors Act 1861.

Secondary liability principles can be applied to most offences. The principles remain the same, whichever offence they are applied to. The principles are commonly used in offences of violence, theft, fraud and public order.

Secondary Liability: charging decisions on principals and accessories

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