Defendant Charged with Being an Armed Habitual Criminal & Battery with a Firearm
In People v. Perkins, the defendant, Antonio R. Perkins, was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, possession of a weapon by a felon, and being an armed habitual criminal. Both aggravated battery with a firearm and being an armed habitual criminal are considered class-X felonies under Illinois law, the most serious you can face short of first-degree murder. Possession of a weapon by a felon is considered a class-2 felony under Illinois law.
On December 4th, 2018, the defendant discharged a weapon injuring another man. He proceeded with his case pro se, meaning he represented himself during the proceedings. He elected to plead guilty to being an armed habitual criminal and possession of a weapon by a felon. He received consecutive sentences of 10 and 6 years for being an armed habitual criminal and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. The aggravated battery charges were dropped against him.
He attempted to appeal the conviction based on Illinois’ one act one crime rule. He argued unsuccessfully that he was charged with two crimes for the same act. Although the state agreed with his reasoning, it denied his appeal based on the fact that he accepted a plea bargain in this case which officially dropped the charges related to aggravated battery with a firearm.
Illinois One-Act One-Crime rule
When a defendant is formally charged with a crime, they may face multiple charges based on the same act. For example, a DUI defendant may face charges for driving under the influence and charges of reckless driving. Illinois employs what is known as the one-act, one-crime doctrine. This means that a criminal defendant facing charges can only be convicted once on the charges. That, however, doesn’t mean that the defendant cannot be charged with multiple counts relating to the same crime. You can face multiple criminal charges, but you can only be convicted for one of them.
In this case, the defendant really should have had a lawyer helping in his defense. Prosecutors can charge for multiple crimes, but it’s a bit like throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. Once the plea deal was reached, the defendant was convicted of multiple counts for the same crime. The court found that this plea deal was reached with the defendant’s knowing consent and that the defendant knew what the charges were and the consequences of pleading guilty to them. He wanted to pull his guilty plea on the basis of the one-act, one-crime doctrine but was unable to once he accepted the plea deal. The court would not overturn the conviction.
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The Decatur criminal defense lawyers at Patel Law, PC represent the interests of defendants who are charged with serious crimes. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin going over your options immediately.