It is not uncommon for the State to file multiple criminal charges against a person following a single incident. While this is permissible, a person cannot be tried or convicted more than once for the same crime, as doing so would violate double jeopardy. In many instances, double jeopardy also bars a person from being convicted for an offense and a lesser offense, even though they are two different crimes. This was illustrated in a recent Florida case in which the court vacated a defendant’s conviction for attempted home invasion robbery due to his conviction for burglary with assault. If you are accused of a violent offense, it is in your best interest to talk to a Sarasota violent crime defense attorney to evaluate your options for seeking a good outcome.
History of the Case
It is reported that the defendant was charged with multiple crimes following a home invasion that resulted in the death of two people and the shootings of four other individuals. The case proceeded to trial, and the defendant was found guilty of fourteen separate offenses, including burglary with assault and attempted home invasion robbery. Prior to sentencing, the defendant filed an appeal. Among other arguments he set forth, the defendant claimed that his convictions for burglary with assault and attempted home invasion robbery violated double jeopardy. The court agreed with the defendant’s assertions and vacated his conviction for the robbery offense.
Protections Against Double Jeopardy
The court explained that double jeopardy claims set forth pure questions of law; as such, they are reviewed de novo. Pursuant to Florida law, separate convictions for distinct offenses arising out of a single act are only permissible if each crime contains at least one element that the other does not.
If two or more convictions violate double jeopardy, the proper remedy is to affirm the conviction for the greater offense and vacate the conviction for the lesser one. The court agreed with the defendant’s assertion that his convictions for burglary with assault and attempted home invasion robbery violated double jeopardy. Specifically, the court explained that the burglary offense was subsumed by the robbery offense.
As such, the court found that the defendant’s conviction for home invasion robbery should be vacated. The court, therefore, remanded the matter to the trial court to vacate the conviction for the lesser offense of attempted home invasion robbery and affirmed his conviction for burglary with assault.
Meet with a Capable Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney
Violent crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Florida, but the State cannot violate a criminal defendant’s rights in pursuit of a conviction. If you are charged with a violent offense or any other crime, it is smart to meet with an attorney to discuss your possible defenses. The capable Sarasota criminal defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can advise you of your options and help you to take the measures necessary to safeguard your rights. You can contact Hanlon Law through the online form or by calling 941-462-1789 to set up a conference.