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Violent Crimes Charges

Violent crimes are some of the most serious crimes in the Penal Code. Violent crimes range from misdemeanor assaults up to homicide, and can have penalties ranging from probation to life in prison without the possibility of parole, or even the death penalty.

A reliable Los Angeles violent crimes attorney, like those at Moaddel Law Firm, can help you fight the charges against you. A criminal defense attorney can investigate the case against you, find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop factual and legal defenses. In many violent crime cases, the key issue is your intent: were you intending to hurt someone or just defending yourself? An experienced lawyer can show the jury your side of the story and why your actions were reasonable responses to the situation.

Additionally, even misdemeanor offenses with relatively light penalties can have serious consequences for future employment, professional licensing, and immigration. Most California violent crimes are “crimes of violence” for immigration purposes, and are often considered “aggravated felonies,” which can result in deportation, inadmissibility, and the denial of naturalization. Thus, it is essential to retain an experience criminal defense attorney who can mitigate these collateral consequences, instead of someone who takes the first plea offer the prosecution makes.

Types of Violent Crimes in California–§240, §242, §243, §245, §261, §192, §187

Assault

Under Penal Code § 240, assault is an attempt to commit a violent injury on another person.[1] To be convicted, you must also have had the ability to use force on the other person. Simple assault is a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to six months in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.[2]

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Under Penal Code § 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon is an assault committed with a deadly weapon, such as a gun or knife, or other means of force likely to cause great bodily injury. Assault with a deadly weapon is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the maximum sentence is one year in county jail. If charged as a felony, the potential sentence is two, three, or four years in jail.[3]

Battery

Under Penal Code § 242, battery is the willful and unlawful use of force or violence on another person.[4] However, you do not need to actually injure the other person; simply touching them in a harmful or offensive manner is enough for conviction. Battery is a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to six months in county jail and/or a $2,000 fine.[5]

Battery with Serious Bodily Injury

When the victim is seriously injured, the offense will be prosecuted as battery with serious bodily injury, under Penal Code § 242(d). Battery with serious bodily injury is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.[6] If charged as a felony, you could face two, three, or four years in prison.

Battery on Peace Officer

When a battery is committed against a peace officer, it is charged under Penal Code § 243(b) or § 243(c)(2). These statutes only apply if you knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a peace officer engaged in the performance of their duties.[7] Peace officers include police, firefighters, paramedics/EMTs, probation officers, and doctors and nurses providing emergency medical care.[8]

Battery on a peace officer is typically a misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of $2,000.[9] However, if the battery causes an injury requiring medical treatment, it is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If charged as a felony, it can be punished by sixteen months, two years, or three years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.[10]

Rape

Penal Code § 261 defines rape as nonconsensual sexual intercourse by means of threats, force, or fraud. You can also be charged with rape if the victim was unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting.[11] Rape is a felony, with penalties of three, six, or eight years in state prison.[12] If the victim was a minor, the minimum penalty is seven years in prison and the maximum is thirteen years in prison.[13]

Involuntary Manslaughter

Penal Code § 192(b) defines involuntary manslaughter as the killing of another person without malice or an intent to kill, but with a conscious disregard for human life.[14] Involuntary manslaughter is a felony, with punishment of two, three, or four years in state prison.[15]

Voluntary Manslaughter

Penal Code § 192(a) defines voluntary manslaughter as the killing of another person during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.[16] Unlike murder, there is no malice requirement, because the killing is done without planning. Voluntary manslaughter is a felony, with punishment of three, six, or eleven years in state prison.[17]

Murder

Murder is the most serious crime in the Penal Code. Penal Code § 187 defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.

First degree murder is murder committed with a destructive device, explosive, or weapon of mass destruction; committed by lying in wait or inflicting torture; that is willful, deliberate, or premeditated; or under the felony-murder rule.[18] The penalties for first degree murder are twenty five years in prison to life.[19]

Second degree murder is murder that is willful but not deliberate or premeditated.[20] Any murder that is not defined as first degree murder is second degree murder. The penalties for second degree murder range from fifteen years in prison to life.[21]

The most serious charge is capital murder. Capital murder is defined as first degree murder with special circumstances.[22] California law defines over twenty different “special circumstances” that elevate first degree murder to capital murder, including murder for financial gain, murder of more than one person, murder of a police officer, and murder of a witness to prevent their testimony.[23]If you are charged with capital murder you could face the death penalty, or life in state prison without the possibility of parole.[24]

Take the First Step in Your Defense–Call Moaddel Law Firm Today

If you have been arrested for a violent crime, you need a determined Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer in your corner who can dispute any and all charges against you.  When your future hangs in the balance, you want a professional on your side.  Look to Moaddel Law Firm to champion your rights and work towards the best possible outcome.

Call today and speak with the firm about your case–(877) 375-8188!

[1] Penal Code § 240.

[2] Penal Code § 241.

[3] Penal Code § 245(a).

[4] Penal Code § 242

[5] Penal Code § 243.

[6] Penal Code § 243.

[7] Penal Code §§ 243(b), (c)(2).

[8] Penal Code § 243.

[9] Penal Code § 243 (b).

[10] Penal Code § 243(c).

[11] Penal Code § 261.

[12] Penal Code § 264.

[13] Penal Code § 264(c).

[14] Penal Code § 192(b).

[15] Penal Code § 193.

[16] Penal Code § 192.

[17] Penal Code § 193.

[18] Penal Code § 189.

[19] Penal Code § 190(a).

[20] Penal Code § 189.

[21] Penal Code § 190.

[22] Penal Code § 190.2.

[23] Penal Code § 190.2.

[24] Penal Code § 190.2.