Friday, July 23, 2021

CAN YOU BE CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE CRIMES BASED ON ONE ACT?

The answer is yes, provided each offense contains at least one element that differs from your other offense(s).

Under the one-act, one-crime rule, you may not be convicted of multiple offenses based on precisely the same single physical act. To determine if a one-act, one-crime violation has occurred, the court looks at 1) whether your conduct consisted of a single physical act or separate acts, and 2) whether any single act formed the basis for separate but lesser-included offenses.

In People v. McCloud, the defendant abducted and sexually assaulted a woman off the street. The court found that within that one event, defendant had performed multiple acts. First, defendant forced the victim into an abandoned house, which supported a conviction for unlawful restraint. Then, Defendant grabbed the victim’s breast, which supported a conviction for criminal sexual abuse. Finally, the victim nearly escaped several times only to be recaptured and touched or penetrated by defendant. This touching in an insulting nature supported a separate conviction for battery.

However, in People v. Reveles-Cordova, the court reversed the defendant’s conviction for criminal sexual assault because all the elements of that offense were contained within the offense of home invasion. Therefore, the defendant could not be convicted of both.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can your act be broken into multiple crimes or did the state “overcharge” you? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

Friday, July 2, 2021

WHEN CAN I BE CONVICTED OF A LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE?

Police arrested you on charges that were pretty stiff, but you feel confident that the state can’t prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. That does not mean, however, that you are out of the woods. The court can convict you of a lesser-included offense even if you were not originally charged with that offense.

Under Illinois law, you may be convicted of a lesser-included offense if it is within the offense for which you were charged and the evidence at trial supports conviction on the lesser offense and acquittal on the greater offense.

For example, in People. v. VanHoose, the defendant was arrested for threatening a public official. The trial court found the evidence insufficient to convict on that charge but instead convicted defendant for the lesser-included offense of assault. (In this case, the appellate court disagreed that there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant of assault and reversed the trial court.)

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. As with most criminal charges, the state must prove all the elements of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Can the state prove the lesser-included offense? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)