Can I be charged with a felony and misdemeanor for the same crime?

UPDATED: Jan 16, 2011

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Can I be charged with a felony and misdemeanor for the same crime?

Asked on January 16, 2011 under Criminal Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be, in two different ways:

1) First, prosecutors often charge several different "levels" of a crime. For example, in a murder case, they may charge both both murder and manslaughter (a "lesser" type of murder). It's also common in sexual assault cases, where several different types of sexual assault, often ranging from forceable rape to "mere" inappropriate touching, are charged. That is because they don't know what they'll be to prove to a jury, so they cover their bases. When this done, the accused can't be convicted of more than one "version" of a crime, so the conviction will be of the most serious version that the jury is convinced of (if any).

2) Also, some crimes have multiple different components. The act of robbing someone at gunpoint can give rise to robbery, to weapons possession, and to assault charges--all of which are distinct crimes arising from the same act. In this case, the accused could be convicted of any or all.

So it is entirely possible to be charged with a feony and a misdomeanor for the same act.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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