California, United States of America
The following excerpt is from People v. Maddox, B234514 (Cal. App. 2014):
Section 654, subdivision (a), provides in pertinent part, "An act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of law shall be punished under the provision that provides for the longest potential term of imprisonment, but in no case shall the act or omission be punished under more than one provision." "Whether a course of criminal conduct is divisible and therefore gives rise to more than one act within the meaning of section 654 depends on the intent and objective of the actor. If all of the offenses were incident to one objective, the defendant may be punished for any one of such offenses but not for more than one." (Neal v. State of California (1960) 55 Cal.2d 11, 19.) "On the other hand, if the defendant entertained multiple criminal objectives that were independent and not incidental to each other, he or she 'may be punished for each
statutory violation committed in pursuit of each objective' even though the violations were otherwise part of an indivisible course of conduct." (People v. Sok (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 88, 99.) The purpose of section 654 is to ensure that punishment is commensurate with a defendant's culpability. (People v. Meeks (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 695, 705.)
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