Can You Be Punished Twice For the Same Crime?
The California Penal Code provides that a person who is convicted of multiple crimes for engaging in the same criminal act shall be punished under the provision that provides the longest potential term of imprisonment. (Cal Penal Code §654.) In determining whether a defendant has been convicted of multiple crimes for the same act, the court ignores the intent or objectives the defendant had at the time of the act. Moreover, the court will not consider whether the statutes authorizing criminal charges are aimed at preventing distinct evils.
For example, where a defendant is convicted of possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance while armed, they may only be punished for the crime that provides for the longest possible sentence. It does not matter that the defendant had a different objective or intent when possessing the firearm, nor does it matter that the laws were passed to protect against different societal harms.
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Our law firm has been helping answer people’s questions about their present and past criminal cases for almost four decades. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
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