September 28, 2015 By Paul Wallin

Can a Single Crime Lead to Multiple Punishments?

Under certain circumstances, you could be charged with multiple crimes for a single act. This commonly happens in DUI cases, where the defendant is charged with both driving under the influence while intoxicated and driving with a blood-alcohol content level of 0.08% or higher. But what does this mean if you are convicted of multiple crimes? Could you face punishment for all the crimes you are convicted of?

Two Crimes, One Punishment

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What happens if you are accused of 2 crimes?

In a recent case, the issue of multiple punishments for a single act was explored. The case involved a defendant who allegedly had sex with someone after the person had passed out from drinking too much alcohol. The defendant was convicted of rape of an unconscious person under California Penal Code Section 261(a)(4) and rape of an intoxicated person under California Penal Code Section 261(a)(3).

Upon conviction, the defendant sought to have one of the convictions stricken, arguing that he shouldn’t be able to be punished for multiple crimes stemming from a single act. However, the court disagreed, stating that the different subdivisions of the act can have distinctly different consequences. For instance, there may be different requirements for sex offender registration, limiting the possibility of probation or even prohibiting the defendant from obtaining a commercial driver’s license.

The court did not allow the defendant to strike his conviction, but it concluded that if a person is convicted of multiple counts of rape based on a single act, the charges must be merged together to form a single punishment.

Sentencing for Multiple Crimes

There are seven separate subdivisions of rape under PC 261. This means that the court can reason that more than one crime of rape can happen during a single act. However, while there are many subdivisions of this crime, they all fall under one statute. Because of this, you can be charged with separate counts of sexual assault based on PC 261, but only one punishment for rape can result from a single course of conduct.

The court has held that the appropriate thing to do when a defendant is convicted of multiple counts of rape under different subdivisions of PC 261for a single act, the judgment should be modified to the extent of merging them together into one judgement.

Call the Rape Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

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Our rape attorneys can help you now.

If you are accused of rape or sexual assault under PC 261, it is extremely important that you speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Rape is a serious crime that carries consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life. You will need an experienced rape lawyer fighting for you. At Wallin & Klarich, our rape attorneys have over 40 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing sexual charges in California. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.

We have offices located in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina and Sherman Oaks, so that our knowledgeable rape attorneys are available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Contact us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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