What is a Lesser Included Charge and Should You Ask For One?

Jury Box in a new court room
Jury consider Lesser Included Charge

A lesser included charge is a criminal offense that was not originally charged but fits within the elements of a higher offense that was charged. A lesser included charge might be an offense with a lower amount of property damage, one that requires a less culpable mental state, or one that required a different degree of injury. Examples include petit larceny as a lesser included of grand larceny, voluntary manslaughter as a lesser included of murder, and simple assault as a lesser included of assault causing serious physical injury.

Lesser included charges arise when the evidence in the case is not what the prosecution expected it to be or when the defense argues a theory that supports the lesser included charge but not the original, higher charge. For example, a defendant might be charged with premeditated murder. At trial, there may be strong evidence that the defendant killed someone but some of the evidence might have suggested that it wasn’t premeditated. At the end of the trial, the jury might be asked to return verdicts on a lower degree of murder or manslaughter in addition to the original charge of premeditated murder.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Requesting a Lesser Included Charge?

Lesser included charges are important to defendants because jurors do not always exactly follow the law. For example, in a grand larceny case, the jury might be so outraged at what they consider to be a brazen theft by the defendant that they don’t carefully consider whether the value of the property stolen was high enough to be grand larceny before returning a guilty verdict. If the defense requests a lesser included charge of petit larceny, the jury is more likely to carefully look at the evidence presented about the property’s value and convict the defendant only of petit larceny if that is the only charge that they feel the evidence supported.

Requesting a lesser included charge is a double-edged sword, however. Some juries might have acquitted the defendant in the above example if they didn’t believe that the prosecution proved that the amount stolen warranted a grand larceny charge. If that happened, double jeopardy would prevent the prosecution from later charging the defendant with petit larceny and the defendant would walk free.

The key to deciding whether to request a lesser included charge is weighing the risks against the rewards. In the above example, grand larceny is a felony and petit larceny is a misdemeanor. The defendant has to choose between going all in to try for an acquittal or giving the jury a compromise option to lessen the chance of a felony conviction. With some charges, the difference between the original charge and a lesser included charge could be life versus a few years, prison versus probation, or a conviction that disqualifies the defendant from a job versus having only a minor criminal record. These outcomes have to be weighed against the evidence presented and how the jury appears to be receiving the evidence to determine the best strategy.

Who Makes the Final Decision?

Whether to request a lesser included charge is a question of trial strategy that rests with the defense attorney. Verdicts have been overturned where a defendant was allowed to make the final decision when it went against their attorney’s advice. This doesn’t mean that a defendant has no say, however. In deciding what’s in a defendant’s best interests, their attorney must be aware of their risk tolerance and the possible consequences for the defendant later in life. To that end, the judge will usually question a defendant to ensure that their attorney is making the decision after thorough consultation with the defendant before the judge decides whether to charge the jury with a lesser included offense.

man handcuffed hands behind back
What To Do After Being Wrongly Arrested

Alcohol is a depressant, causing slower brain functioning. It distorts the behavior of your brain and the way you drive or walk. It is extremely dangerous, as it puts everyone at risk once you are behind the wheel of a car.  Yes, at rare times, a person may be pulled over for wrong reasons, getting accused of drinking and driving. Remember that regardless of whether you are guilty or not, it is a must to be courteous to the law and to follow directions. If you are in San Antonio and are accused for right or wrong reasons, it is recommended to contact a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer so that your case is attended and you have someone by your side.


Reward for Cooperation

Cooperating with law officials is mandatory. Acting poorly or arguing with a police officer may not help your case in front of a judge. In fact, if you are obedient and respectful, your court experience may be more sympathetic throughout the process. However, truth cannot be hidden and you must admit to drinking, if you were pulled over for this reason. The officer will do the DWI screening process even if you’ve only had a few drinks. Speaking poorly may get you into more trouble, so maintain silence.


Laws and Penalties

The BAC laws of each state differs and the officer can take you to a sobriety test, if found guilty of drinking. Your blood alcohol is taken on consideration of your weight, gender, the number of drinks taken, the time taken and what you ate.  However, the plain truth is that even with the first drink, your BAC changes.

The penalties may vary in each state and it may include prison time, court costs, significant fines, loss of driver license, increase in car insurance, rehabilitation or a permanent criminal record. So, it is a must to hire a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer within 15 days of your arrest to make sure that there are no extra infractions.


Advantages of hiring a lawyer

Hiring a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer ensures safety as your defense lawyer will also consider options if the officer who charged you had a reasonable suspicion to stop and arrest and also if the seizure was constitutional. You must hire an experienced defense lawyer in San Antonio so that the verdict outcome is favorable to you.


An experienced San Antonio criminal defense lawyer may be of great assistance to you when convicted. But, ensure your defense lawyer is educated on the current laws of the state. The laws keep changing every year aiming to crack down on drinking and driving. Consider the client referrals and choose the right criminal defense lawyer to represent you so that the experience is less catastrophic.

client and defense lawyer shaking hands
Before Hiring A Defense Attorney | What To Know

Facing no criminal charges through your entire life means you are lucky. However, it is important to prevent legal mistakes that may result in unnecessary consequences. This is common with San Antonio drug possession charges. The main reason is because people charged with such crimes fail to acknowledge their rights and it is crucial to remember that whatever evidence is against you, with reference to San Antonio drug possession charges, there is no clear cut way to get free.


Know the Details

Drug charges are taken seriously, yet there are some that don’t have as serious consequences. Possessing less marijuana may lead to a fine such as $200 or $250, but this is regarded as a crime or an offense. So, to show you the range of punishments, it is mandatory to understand the details by speaking with a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer. He will highlight the depth of your case. Knowing the details is a must because in some states it may be a reason to send a person to prison.

Legal penalties do not mean the end of unwanted consequences. This may have an impact on your career. Many employers do not hire people having criminal records and many more straightly avoid people with drug charges. In fact, the seriousness is that the drug charges bar students from receiving higher education financial assistance in some states. This shows that drug possession in some places may ruin your life, not only in the present, but also your future.


Recommended Defenses

There is a large amount of defenses to prevent drug possession charges. If the police who arrested you  failed to adhere to the protocol while seizing drugs, they will not be in a position to use proper evidence against you. Moreover, in case the law enforcement lost the drugs or it belonged to someone else, they cannot use the drugs against you as evidence. This is the best defense where you benefit against unlawful seizures and searches.

Oversights are possible in the lab analysis. This is the place to prove that a substance is actually illegal. However, there may be mistakes similar to how the police may have been mistaken. However, strict the rules, there is a fine line between entrapment and standard operations.


Once affected by drug possession in San Antonio, it becomes necessary to look for San Antonio criminal defense lawyers to assist in processing your case. However, not all the lawyers give quality services, so before hiring, read reviews about the lawyer and see if the lawyer listens to you and works to your benefit.

serious attorney with arms crossed
What To Look For In A Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

Sexual assault is commonly referred to as “rape,”. This is a physically threatened force to engage in sex, whereas it is unwanted by another person. The laws for sexual assault vary from state to stage and also regions. However, this is a serious charge and can be a negative stigma causing lifelong consequences. San Antonio sexual assault may include steep fines, negative personal relationships, or the offender may find it affecting the ability to secure a job or even finding a house to rent. Hence there is a need for a San Antonio lawyer or defense attorney, whether you are guilty or innocent; you have to create a defense to succeed in court.


Pointers for hiring a lawyer

The are a few pointers to be considered prior to hiring a legal representative or a San Antonio defense lawyer to fight the charge of San Antonio sexual assault. You must be sure that your lawyer to be hired has enough skills. He or she must have knowledge about going to trial in identical cases as yours and also must have attained high success rates.


The role of a lawyer

A knowledgeable and experienced San Antonio lawyer is the only person to get you out of San Antonio sexual assault. He or she will build a strong argument and provide it during the trial. These lawyers can support you throughout your court case, right from the arrested time. They offer legal services after the scenario and if you have hired a specialist defense lawyer in San Antonio, you will get free from the charges quite early, depending on the qualifications of the San Antonio lawyer.

The San Antonio defense lawyer will consider your situation and advise how to protect the documentation to present the right scenario on your behalf. The defense lawyer manages all types of cases, be it drug violation, murder or sexual assault and are equally adept at handling white collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement. Hence it is best to inquire before organizing a meeting appointment. This will save your money and stress.


Aggressive and Tough situations

San Antonio sexual assault is a criminal offense. This has a profound impact on one’s life.  Even if you are charged wrongly with sexual assault, you are immediately stigmatized, so to clear the path and to fight an uphill battle, you need to hire a San Antonio defense or criminal lawyer who can prove you innocent and free of guilt. The experienced criminal attorneys are aware of the ways to defend your interests and rights, yet sexual assault charges must not be taken lightly, as they are serious. Having an experienced lawyer helps you come out of this tough and aggressive situation as they ensure undivided availability and attention.

man handcuffed behind bars
What To Do If Wrongfully Accused of Sexual Assault

If you have been wrongfully accused of sexual assault then you should always contact a criminal defense lawyer to help get you out of trouble. You can’t always get out of trouble, but it’s at least worth a try. If you are in San Antonio and get in trouble for sexual assault then you should immediately do a few things to help prove your innocence. Remember that no matter where you go, everyone will think that you are guilty until proven innocent. it will seem difficult to convince people, but there are good San Antonio criminal defense lawyers you constantly work with criminals and wrongfully accused criminals who are just looking for a lifeline. So how do you respond to your accusations?

Let’s take a look at how you should respond if you have been wrongfully accused of sexual assault in San Antonio or any place for that matter.


Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer and Talk About the Problem

A San Antonio criminal defense lawyer is your first stop in finding innocence in the court of law. No one is going to believe you until you get a criminal lawyer. This might feel strange because you feel that you are innocent and not a criminal, but it’s the process you have to take. This person will help you put together your case and communicate with the other people in the case.


Gather All the Evidence You Can and Present it to a Lawyer

Everything can be considered evidence in a sexual assault case. Think if you can try to find pictures, things that might show people where you were at at the time, or pieces of evidence that prove that you didn’t sexually assault someone. These are often small or large items, so don’t rule anything out.


Bring Together Some Witnesses Who Are Willing to Talk For You

Witnesses are one of your most powerful allies, so look around for people who can honestly say they witnessed you not sexually assault anyone. Maybe there is someone who can tell the judge that you were somewhere else at the time. You never really know with sexual assault cases, so bring in all your guns to help you structure a case in San Antonio that will prove your innocence. It takes one step and one witness at a time.


Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions about how to get out of a sexual assault charge. It’s not always guaranteed, but if you are actually innocent a criminal defense lawyer will help you get out of your San Antonio sexual assault charge. Think about how you can help the lawyer get you out of trouble as well.

Have you recently been wrongfully charged with sexual assault in the San Antonio area? Give The Law Offices of Patrick Hancock a call today for a free case review and see how our experienced legal team can help you fight the courts.