A man broke into and entered a dwelling house. Once inside, he committed grand larceny by taking away from the premises properties belonging to the owner of the dwelling house which amounted to more than one hundred dollars.
The prosecutor was charged under an information with two crimes: the breaking and entering a dwelling with intent to commit grand larceny; and grand larceny. The man pleaded not guilty and he was tried before a jury. He was later convicted by that jury for the two crimes of breaking and entering with intent to commit grand larceny and grand larceny. The trial court judge sentenced the man to imprisonment of two years for the grand larceny and one year for the breaking and entering with intent to commit grand larceny, both sentences to be served concurrently.
The man appealed the conviction and the sentences imposed upon him. The sole ground of his appeal was that he should not have been charged, tried, convicted or sentenced to two separate crimes of breaking and entering to commit grand larceny and grand larceny. He claims that the grand larceny should be comprehended in the one charge of breaking and entering with intent to commit grand larceny because the grand larceny was just an element or a facet of the crime of breaking and entering.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the man was wrongfully charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to two separate crimes.
The Court held that the oldest decisions of the courts of Florida in 1954 affirmed that two separate crimes were committed: the breaking and entering with intent to commit grand larceny and the crime of grand larceny. Two separate sentences were imposed upon the two crimes.
The Court also held that there was a time when the criminal procedure in Florida was amended and that the two separate crimes of breaking and entering with intent to commit grand larceny and grand larceny can be charged but under two separate indictments for there to be imposed two different sentences on the two separate charges.
In the 1970s, cases were decided to the effect that when the two offenses were charged in only one indictment or criminal information, then they constitute only facets of one criminal transaction. Then there must be only one sentenced imposed. The sentence imposed must be the sentence for the highest crime that was charged and proved.
The Court reasoned that in the 1970s, the legislature rationalized the criminal statutes. The crime of breaking and entering can be committed with intent to commit only a misdemeanor and the penalty for it was five years imprisonment. If the crime of breaking and entering were committed with felonious intent, the penalty was fifteen years’ imprisonment. In the case decided in the 1970s, the breaking and entering with felonious intent was proved to have been committed. The felonious intent was proved by introducing proof of the grand larceny committed consequent to the breaking and entering. This was the language of the criminal information against the accused. Thus, grand larceny was only pleaded under the information as proof of the graver offense of breaking and entering (or burglary) with felonious intent. For this reason, the holding of the Courts limited the sentence to the graver crime of breaking and entering with felonious intent only because there was no separate crime of grand larceny charged.
In this case, the Court adhered to the holding under the oldest decisions that the two crimes are separate and distinct crimes which may be charged as two counts under one indictment. The Court reasoned that two separate crimes have been charged under one criminal information and two separate and distinct crimes were proved at trial. The crime of grand larceny was not pleaded merely as proof of the felonious intent under the breaking and entering. Two separate sentences were thus correctly imposed. The appeal is denied.
In the criminal charge against you, are the two crimes of breaking and entering with intent to commit grand larceny and grand larceny appear? You need the assistance of a Florida Criminal Lawyer who can explain to you if under the indictment or information, you were charged with two crimes. A Florida Criminal Attorney can argue that the grand larceny merely appears in the information as proof of the felonious intent under the crime of breaking and entering with intent to commit grand larceny. At Stephen and Bilkis and Associates, the Florida Criminal attorneys on their staff are ready and willing to represent and defend you whether you have been charged with sex crimes, theft or drug possession. Speak with any of the Florida Criminal lawyers from Stephen Bilkis and Associates today.