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4th Theory of Merger

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by: Ryan Scott • May 8, 2024 • no comments


Lesser-Included Offenses

This has a lot of overlap with the Third Theory of Merger. Examples #3 and #4 immediately above would also arguably fall into this section, but generally when we think of lesser-included offenses, we think of assault IV as a lesser-included of assault III or assault II for example.

A crime is a lesser-included offense if it includes all but one or two of the elements of the higher offense and does not contain any additional elements.

Generally, robbery in the second degree (purporting to have, for example, a firearm) is not a lesser-included offense of robbery in the first degree (armed with a deadly weapon) because the former offense has an element the latter offense does not (that is, displaying or pretending to display a dangerous weapon). But robbery in the second degree might be converted into a lesser-included offense if the robbery in the first degree count includes the additional allegation of “with a firearm.”

Example #1: Reckless burning can be a lesser-included offense of arson. State v. Leckenby, 200 Or App 684 (2005).