Constructive Presence

Constructive Presence

Definition

(Criminal Law) At common law, when a person is physically absent from the scene of a crime but aids and abets the principal from a distance at the time of the offense, such as by serving as a lookout, signaling to the principal, or standing ready from a close enough location to render aid if needed. A person who is actually or constructively present at the commission of a crime and aids, counsels, commands, or encourages the principal in the first degree is classified as a principal in the second degree. The person who actually commits the crime—the principal in the first degree—may also be constructively present if an instrument he left or guided, such as poison, caused the criminal result.

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