What is the test for multiple punishment under section 654 of the California Criminal Code?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Chavez, H036355 (Cal. App. 2011):

Section 654, subdivision (a) states: "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." "Section 654 bars multiple punishment for separate offenses arising out of a single occurrence where all of the offenses were incident to one objective. [Citation.]" (People v. Lewis (2008) 43 Cal.4th

Page 8

415, 519.) In addition, "because the statute is intended to ensure that defendant is punished 'commensurate with his culpability' [citation], its protection has been extended to cases in which there are several offenses committed during 'a course of conduct deemed to be indivisible in time.' [Citation.]" (People v. Harrison (1989) 48 Cal.3d 321, 335.)

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