Florida Court Upholds Conviction for Multiple Battery Crimes Arising out of the Same Act

Criminal defendants are protected from being tried or convicted more than once for the same crime by the rule against Double Jeopardy. The rule only applies in limited circumstances, however.

For example, a Florida District Court of Appeal recently ruled that dual battery convictions did not violate double jeopardy, despite the fact that the charges both arose out of the same set of facts. If you are a St. Petersburg resident charged with a crime, you should retain an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to analyze the facts of your case and assist you in developing a strong defense.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the defendant was arrested following a fight in the parking lot of a restaurant. He was charged with several crimes, including burglarizing a conveyance with assault or battery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Following a trial, he was convicted of burglarizing a conveyance with assault or battery, and the jury specifically determined that he had committed both an assault and a battery during the course of the burglary. He was also convicted of the included lesser offense of battery for the aggravated battery charge. He appealed, arguing in part that the convictions for both battery offenses violated double jeopardy. On appeal, the court affirmed his convictions.

Double Jeopardy for Dual Battery Convictions

Upon review, the court noted that both offenses involved the same person and occurred at the same time. Specifically, the charges arose out of an incident in which the defendant beat the victim while the victim was in his car. The court stated that Florida case law established that double jeopardy barred convictions for both burglary with battery and simple battery. Double jeopardy also prohibited dual convictions for the crimes of burglary with assault and/or battery and simple battery, but only where it uncertain whether the jury convicted the defendant of burglary with assault or burglary with battery.

In the subject case, the jury found the defendant guilty of both burglary with battery and burglary with assault. As such, the court did not find that the convictions violated the rule against double jeopardy. Additionally, the court noted that the rule against double jeopardy does not prohibit convictions for the crimes of burglary with assault and simple battery because each crime was comprised of different elements. Thus, the defendant could be convicted of burglary of a conveyance with assault and battery without violating the rule against double jeopardy. 

Meet with an Experienced St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Regarding your Case 

The state is not permitted to convict you more than once for the same crime. If you face criminal charges in St. Petersburg, you should meet with an experienced St. Petersburg defense attorney regarding your case. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight on your behalf to help you in your pursuit of a favorable outcome. Mr. Hanlon can be reached at 727-897-5413 or via the online form to set up a conference.

More Blog Posts:

Florida Court Holds that Evidence a Defendant Hid from Police in a Stolen Car is Insufficient to Prove the Defendant Knew the Car Was Stolen, December 3, 2018, St. Petersburg Sex Crimes Lawyer Blog