California has some of the toughest sentencing guidelines when it comes to violent felonies. In 1994, the state enacted a Three Strikes rule, which means repeat offenders could receive jail terms as long as 25 years to life. The law was updated in 2012 to focus directly on violent felonies and that makes such charges the most serious accusations. If violent felony allegations have been leveled against you, it’s vital that you contact a Los Angeles violent felonies attorney.
What are Violent Felonies?
The way the state defines a violent felony appears straight forward in most cases. Generally, charges that involve serious bodily harm to another person will fall under this category. These crimes include:
- Murder: The unlawful killing of a person without justification.
- Attempted Murder: The deliberate attempt to kill or extraordinary reckless disregard for human life.
- Manslaughter: The unlawful killing of a person without malice or premeditation.
- Sex Offenses: These may entail rape, abuse, child abuse and crimes against nature.
- Kidnapping: The taking of a person by physical or fraudulent means.
- Armed Robbery: Use of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a theft crime.
- Unarmed Robbery: Threatening to use a weapon during the commission of a theft crime.
- Arson: The deliberate and malicious burning of property, including another person’s or your own for fraudulent reasons.
While these are the more well-known charges, there are other charges that can rise to the level of a violent felonies in the eyes of the law. For example, assault is often considered a misdemeanor offense. But circumstances such as indecency and level of harm can cause the state to elevate assault charges. In some gang-related allegations, the state may seek a gang enhancement to increase the severity of the charge even though the accused didn’t personally undertake a violent action. The distinction between a felony and a violent felony can have tremendous consequences in the Los Angeles judicial system.
Defending against Violent Felony Charges
For the state to convict you of a violent felony, they will need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is why contacting an attorney who works in this practice area is so important. You have a constitutional right to legal representation and should consult with an attorney before giving statements that could be held against you later. There are two basic ways that an experienced Los Angeles violent felonies attorney can help you to defend against charges — make the state prove its case and create a proactive defense.
Violent felonies rank among the most serious charges anyone can face. Attorney Michael Zimbert has been vigorously defending people in the Los Angeles County area for more than 30 years.