Course: Criminal Law
An included offense is a criminal charge that is considered a lesser offense than the original charge.
An included offense arises when the defendant commits a more serious crime and a lesser offense during the commission of the crime.
For example, if someone commits a robbery and also assaults the victim during the commission of the robbery, the assault charge may be considered an included offense. In this case, the assault charge is considered to be included in the robbery charge because it is a lesser offense that was committed as part of the same criminal act.
In some jurisdictions, included offenses are automatically considered part of the original charge, and the defendant may be convicted of both the original charge and the included offense. In other jurisdictions, the prosecutor may have to request that the included offense be considered part of the original charge.
The use of included offenses can be beneficial to the criminal justice system because it allows for a more streamlined process and avoids the need for separate trials for each charge. However, it is important to ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected and that they are not convicted of an included offense without proper evidence and due process.