lesser crime means: Also called a lesser-included offense. Because the more serious crime has all the elements of the lesser one, it is deemed to be a crime. A defendant convicted for murder can also be convicted of battery because it includes the crime of battery. A jury can’t convict the defendant for both a lesser and greater crime of the same conduct. A court can instruct the jury to convict a defendant for a lesser offense even though they may not be convinced that the defendant was guilty of the more serious crime. Sometimes, prosecutors will charge the defendant with a lesser offense to improve their chances of getting a conviction. To encourage plea bargaining, the prosecution may use lesser crime to lower a defendant’s charge to make it easier to plead guilty. (in Legal Dictionary)