As complex as these three terms used in criminal law are, the complexity is unlocked when these terms are analyzed.A complex crime is committed either when a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies; or when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. In both cases, the penalty for the more serious crime shall be imposed and is to be applied in its maximum period. It has two kinds: compound crime and complex crime proper.
Special complex crime or composite crime is made up of more than one crime, but which in the eyes of the law warrants a single indivisible offense. They are regarded as a special species of complex crime because there is one specific penalty imposed. An example of special complex crime is rape with homicide, when the homicide is consummated; otherwise they are separate offenses; kidnapping with homicide; robbery with arson.
Delito continuado or continued crime or continuous crime exists where there is plurality of acts over a period of time; unity of penal provision violated; and unity of criminal intent or purpose, which means that two or more violations of the same penal provisions are united in one and the same intent or resolution leading to the perpetration of the same criminal purpose or aim. In appearance, a delito continuado consists of several crimes but in reality there is only one crime on the mind of the perpetrator. To sum up, the following are its requisites: multiplicity of acts, unity of criminal purpose or intent; and unity of criminal offense violated. A good example of this is a robbery planned in one residential subdivision where several owners of such subdivision were robbed of their belongings.