Q: Is it double jeopardy if charged and with loitering in a vehicle due to drugs by city court and charged with posession
Convicted by city court and charged with posession by state over same drugs
In a practical sense, Double Jeopardy arises when someone is being prosecuted more than once for the same crime. The primary focus is “same crime.” While some crimes are a lesser offense than the other, you can be charged with a different crime if that crime is are not included in the other.
For example, a man was convicted of larceny. Later, the government charged him with a robbery, which consists of larceny. To prove larceny , a prosecutor wouldn't have had to prove anything more than what's required to prove a robbery. (larceny was a "lesser included" offense of a robbery.) Thus, larceny and robbery therefore represented the same offense, and the robbery prosecution violated the double jeopardy principle.
However, the crimes of loitering and possession require different elements to be proven. For the purpose of the question, Loitering, under Section 13A-11-9, is when a person remains in any place with one or more persons for the purpose of unlawfully using or possessing a dangerous drug. A person can commit loitering by being idle too long in suspicious drug-related area without possessing any illegal substances.
Possession, however, is “actually” possessing the illegal substance; which is not included as a requirement in the crime of loitering. A person can commit one without the other during the same commission. In practical terms, loitering is not a lesser offense of possession because not every who possesses drugs are Loiters.
However, with the previous example above, everyone who “robs” does actually commit larceny; thus larceny merges into robbery to avoid double Jeopardy issues .
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.