Los Angeles Violent Crime Lawyer
What is a Violent Crime?
Generally speaking, violent crime is one that involves the threat or use of force against another person. It is important to note that you do not need to have caused actual harm to another person in order to be charged with a violent crime (the mere threat of harm or attempt to cause harm is enough to face charges for a violent crime). Non-violent crimes, by contrast, are typically crimes that do not involve any use of force against another person, such as fraud or shoplifting.
Violent Crime Under California Law
There is no specific definition of “violent crime” under California law. Instead, California Penal Code Section 667.5 lists 23 crimes that are considered violent felonies, we regularly defend clients against charges related to the following crimes:
- Attempted Murder
- Gang Allegations
- Armed Robbery
- Weapons Charges
- Domestic Violence
Prosecutors are aggressive when it comes to charging defendants with various crimes and will often charge the more serious crime whenever possible. For example, you may find yourself facing an attempted murder charge when an assault charge would be more appropriate.
Penalties for Violent Crimes in California
Violent crimes are felonies in California. Felonies are considered more serious offenses that carry a minimum of one year in prison, although a conviction for a violent felony is likely to carry a much longer prison sentence than one year.
It is also important to understand that violent felonies qualify for California’s “three strikes” law. California’s "three-strikes" law is a sentencing scheme that increases the penalties for people who have prior convictions for violent felonies on their criminal records. The three-strikes law is dangerous for anyone facing a charge for a violent felony - don’t assume that you don’t have to worry about it only if you have two prior convictions.
- If you have only one prior conviction for a violent felony, you will face double the normal sentence for your current charge.
- You face a sentence of 25 years-to-life if you have two prior convictions for violent felonies and are currently charged with a violent felony.
- If you are charged with a non-violent felony but have two prior convictions for violent felonies, you will face twice the normal sentence for your current charge.
There are also situations where you could face a sentence of 25 years-to-life if your third offense is a non-violent felony. The bottom line is that you should not face a violent felony charge without at least consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The consequences of a conviction can do far greater damage to your future than you may realize.
How Can a Los Angeles Violent Crime Defense Attorney Help Me?
If you’ve been charged with a violent felony, the penalties you face will vary according to the crime you have been charged with, your criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. Depending on the charge, you could face anywhere from two years in prison to life, as well as thousands of dollars in fines.
Criminal sentencing in California is extremely complex, making it very difficult for non-lawyers to understand the potential consequences of a conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the penalties you are facing as well as explain your options. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.