Multiple Convictions Based on the Same Offense In California

In People v. Ortega (1998) 19 Cal. 4th 686 80 Cal. Rptr. 2d 489, 968 P.2d 48, our Supreme Court reaffirmed the rule that although section 954 expressly allows multiple convictions to be based on the "same offense," an exception to this general rule is that " 'multiple convictions may not be based on necessarily included offenses. . . ." (19 Cal. 4th at p. 692.) "The test in this state of a necessarily included offense is simply that where an offense cannot be committed without necessarily committing another offense, the latter is a necessarily included offense." . . .' " (Ibid.) Where defendant is convicted of a greater and an included offense, the conviction for the included offense must be reversed. (People v. Pearson (1986) 42 Cal. 3d 351, 355 228 Cal. Rptr. 509, 721 P.2d 595.) To determine whether an offense cannot be committed without necessarily committing the included offense, we look to the statutory definitions of both offenses and the language of the accusatory pleading, but do not consider the evidence in support of the conviction. (People v. Ortega, supra, 19 Cal. 4th 686, 698.)