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Illinois One-Act One-Crime Doctrine

February 16th, 2016 at 7:00 am

one-act one-crime doctrine, robbery, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen formally charged, a criminal defendant may be surprised to learn just how many different charges are filed against him or her for a single alleged crime. Someone who is arrested for driving under the influence might face DUI charges and reckless driving charges. Someone who gets into a physical altercation with law enforcement might be charged with aggravated battery of a peace officer and obstructing a peace officer.

Illinois employs what is referred to as the one-act, one-crime doctrine. Under this doctrine, for any one physical act or crime committed by a criminal defendant, he or she can only be convicted of one crime. However, that does not mean that the criminal defendant will not face a number of charges. Criminal defense lawyers work to either get charges dropped completely, or reduced to lesser crimes, which carry less severe consequences.

You May Face a Number of Criminal Charges

Many have heard the expression of ‘throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.’ Prosecutors often take this approach when pressing charges against criminal defendants. This is because under Illinois law, a defendant can only be convicted of an offense with which he or she has been charged. As such, prosecutors will charge a criminal defendant with as many crimes as fit the particular circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. For instance, it is not uncommon for criminal defendants who are arrested for driving under the influence to be charged with both DUI charges, under 625 ILCS 5/11-501, and reckless driving, under 625 ILCS 5/11-503. The DUI charges are the more serious offense, while reckless driving is a lesser offense.

Prosecutors often also charge criminal defendants with lesser included offenses. Lesser included offenses refers to situations where each of the elements required for establishing liability for a minor, or lesser, crime are necessarily required to establish liability for a more serious crime. Armed robbery, under 720 ILCS 18-2, is an example of a serious crime, and robbery, under 720 ILCS 18-1, is a lesser included charge commonly charged in conjunction with armed robbery. Armed robbery is the greater crime, while robbery is the lesser crime in this example.

In order to establish liability for armed robbery, the prosecution would necessarily have to establish liability for robbery. While not all the elements might exist to convict a criminal defendant of armed robbery, the elements for robbery may exist, and the criminal defendant can be convicted on the charge of robbery.

You Will Only Be Convicted of One Charge

Despite being charged with multiple crimes, a criminal defendant will only be convicted of one crime per physical act or crime. For example, while you can be charged with both robbery and armed robbery, you cannot be convicted of both armed robbery and robbery. Instead, you will only be convicted of one crime or the other, if you are convicted at all.

We Can Provide You with Exceptional Representation

Being charged with a crime is scary and daunting. Please do not hesitate to contact a skilled and compassionate Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office immediately if you are facing criminal charges. We will fight to get your charges dismissed or reduced if possible. Call us today at 847-394-3200.

Source:

https://casetext.com/case/people-v-kolton-1

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