"Violent crime" is a term used to cover a wide range of offenses. Violent crimes are typically charged as felonies, which means the potential for greater punishment and more collateral consequences, like losing the right to vote or ownership and use of any guns you possess. As it is, a charge related to a violent crime can be significant, and the prosecutor will not go easy on you, which means you must take significant steps to defend yourself immediately.
At Eric D. Anderson Law, our violent crimes defense lawyers in San Bernardino County handle these types of sensitive cases. We are determined to secure the best result for every client, no matter the circumstances or the odds. Contact us at 909.283.5494 as soon as possible to schedule a Free Consultation about your case.
What Constitutes Violent Crimes in California?
Each state classifies violent crimes according to its own statutes. Generally speaking, violent crimes involve the use of force against a victim.
The use of force typically includes the threat of force or an attempt to use force.
Violent crimes are aggravated when the alleged offender uses a weapon or uses force against a certain class or categorization of people (e.g., the elderly, children, or emergency personnel).
Examples of Violent Crimes in California
Sometimes referred to as offenses against the person, violent crimes include conduct ranging from assault to murder.
Examples of violent crimes include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Robbery
- Rape and sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Murder and manslaughter
Potential Penalties for Convictions of Violent Crimes in California
The classification of a violent crime as a felony or misdemeanor usually depends on the level of injury caused to the alleged victim. Most violent crimes are classified as felonies and attract harsh sentences, even for first-time offenders.
The penalties for violent crimes include but are not limited to
- Community service
- Rehabilitation or treatment classes
Offenders can also be required to pay restitution to the victim. Given the repercussions of violent crimes and the need for general deterrence, a conviction for a violent crime can often result in a lengthy period of imprisonment.
More consequences, however, flow from a conviction aside from the sentence. These are known as collateral consequences and can include:
- Loss of job
- Difficulty finding a job
- Difficulty attaining higher education
- Difficulty obtaining a loan for a car, home, or anything else
- Loss of voting rights (if a felony conviction)
- Loss of the right to own and use a firearm (if a felony conviction)
A skilled criminal defense lawyer in California can help you first defend against violent crime charges. Depending on your circumstances, this could mean dismissal, reduced charges, a plea deal, or an acquittal. If you are convicted, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can also help you manage the collateral consequences of a conviction.
Defenses in California to a Violent Crimes Charge
The defenses available to a defendant will depend on the circumstances of their case. When it comes to defending a violent crime in California, defendants often do not deny their actions but instead argue that there was a legal excuse for them.
Self-defense is one of the most well-known defenses against a violent crime charge. It is used when a defendant assaults or kills another person in defense of themselves or someone else. In these situations, the circumstances may legally justify the defendant's use of force. However, the force used must be reasonable and proportionate.
Lack of intent
Most crimes require the prosecution to establish that the defendant intended to commit the act. In the absence of criminal intent, a defendant may be able to defend against a violent crime allegation. For example, if a defendant was intoxicated or mentally incapacitated at the time of the offense, they could argue they were unable to form the intent needed for criminal responsibility.
In limited circumstances, the court may find that a victim consented to a violent crime. For example, where a victim willingly participates in a boxing match and is injured. Consent is a complex defense and is highly specific to a case's circumstances.
Three Reasons Why You Need a California Violent Crimes Defense Attorney
Getting charged with a violent crime can turn your life upside down. Here are three important reasons you need a violent crimes defense attorney.
- Plea Deals. Many alleged violent crime offenders may be tempted to take the first plea deal, but if you are doing this on your own or with an inexperienced lawyer, that plea deal may actually work against you. You want a plea deal that benefits you. As it is, plea deals are not always your best option. So, you need a lawyer who can negotiate and pursue the best course of action for you.
- Honest Advice. Violent crimes are serious accusations. A conviction can really impact your life. Your reputation, personal relationships, job, and quite possibly your freedom are on the line. You need someone who will be candid and help you make smart moves as opposed to knee-jerk reactions.
- Full Picture. A prosecutor will not give you the whole scoop of what could or will happen, especially if you take a plea deal without representation. Also, the prosecutor will not tell you the extent and quality of the evidence they have against you, and you may not even know to ask. A lawyer gets the information and lays out the whole picture for you, identifying and explaining everything you need to know and how all options could potentially impact your life.
If you face a violent crime charge in San Bernardino County, it is ultimately in your best interests to retain a competent criminal defense lawyer. We are here at Eric D. Anderson Law to get you through this process and on with your life.
Contact a Violent Crimes Defense Lawyer in San Bernardino County Today
Given their potentially catastrophic consequences, violent crimes attract some of the harshest sentences. If you have been accused of committing a violent crime, you should immediately speak to a defense attorney at Eric D. Anderson Law.
Our experienced attorney will review your case and explain your options, including any legal defenses that may be available to you. They can also help you prepare a strong defense and ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Call 909.283.5494 or submit an online form today to schedule a Free Consultation about your case.