Did you know that the commission of one act can potentially lead to multiple different criminal charges? Moreover, did you know that you may be charged with one offense and can potentially be convicted of another?
If this does not make sense, continue reading as our Louisiana criminal defense attorney Philip B. Adams explains how lesser and included offenses can affect criminal cases.
Let’s say that someone commits the act of using a hammer to hit someone. In that case, the person may be charged with aggravated battery in Louisiana. An aggravated battery is committed when someone intentionally uses force or violence against another person without their consent while using a dangerous weapon. In addition to an aggravated battery, the person can also be charged with a simple battery. A simple battery is committed when someone intentionally uses force or violence against another person without their consent.
In that case, the aggravated battery is the greater offense, and the simple battery is the lesser and included offense. If a person commits an offense that consists of all of the elements or requirements of other lesser crimes, they can be prosecuted for the greater offense or the lesser and included offense. Moreover, if the person is charged with the greater offense, they can be convicted of any of the lesser and included offenses.
Using our previous example, if the person is charged with aggravated battery because they used a hammer which is a dangerous weapon, but the evidence establishes that the hammer was a toy made of plastic and not dangerous, in that case, the person will likely not be convicted of aggravated battery because there was no use of a dangerous weapon. However, the person may still be convicted of simple battery because it is a lesser included offense. Thus, although the prosecution likely cannot establish that the hammer was a dangerous weapon, and, therefore, would not be able to sustain its burden of proof to obtain a conviction of aggravated battery, if the prosecution establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally used force or violence against the alleged victim without the victim’s consent, a simple battery was proved.
Why Lesser and Included Crimes are Important
Lesser and included crimes are important because they can potentially expose a criminal defendant to penalties for offenses that were not originally anticipated. Although lesser and included offenses are, by definition, less serious than the greater charged offense, they must still be considered when defending a criminal case. It may sound like a lot, but an experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to help you get the situation figured out.
Call The Law Offices of Philip B. Adams Today
The Law Offices of Philip B. Adams has Louisiana criminal lawyers with experience working on criminal cases of all types from the charging phase to the conclusion. The firm has an extensive criminal defense practice and can help guide you through the legal process. Whether you are charged with a greater offense or a lesser included offense, our office can help. We are located in Shreveport, Louisiana, and have handled cases throughout the state.
If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney and want to discuss your case, do not hesitate to fill out our easy-to-use online form to set up a consultation.