How Does California Define Violent Crimes?

Facing charges for violent crimes is an overwhelming and emotionally charged experience, fundamentally altering the course of one’s life. The stigma and presumption of guilt that accompany accusations of assault, battery, murder, or other violent offenses can be profoundly distressing. The legal landscape becomes complex, and the consequences of a conviction can be severe, including fines, incarceration, and lasting impacts on one’s personal and professional life. 

Bernal Law understands the gravity of these accusations and approaches each case with empathy and unwavering dedication. Fluent in both English and Spanish, the legal team at Bernal Law is committed to clear communication and personalized representation. By reaching out to Bernal Law, you gain access to legal professionals with a comprehensive understanding of California’s legal intricacies, ensuring your rights are protected. 

Understanding Violent Crimes in California: Definition and Consequences

Violent crimes in California encompass a range of offenses that involve causing harm to another person, and they are treated with the utmost seriousness within the legal system. California legally defines violent crimes under Penal Code §667.5(c), specifically listing offenses classified as “violent felonies.” It’s important to note that not all violent crimes are treated as felonies, and charges can arise even without direct physical harm to another person. 

Assault, a prominent violent crime, involves attempting to touch another person in an offensive or harmful manner. Notably, one doesn’t have to cause actual harm to face assault charges; the mere potential for injury can lead to a conviction. Assault comes in various forms, such as assault with a deadly weapon or assault with a caustic chemical, and is classified as a “wobbler,” meaning it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Battery is another example of a violent crime, distinct from assault. Battery occurs when someone actually touches another person in a harmful or offensive manner. While the terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably, they refer to different criminal acts in California. Murder stands as the most serious violent crime charge involving the unlawful taking of another person’s life. There are various degrees of murder charges, including first- or second-degree murder, attempted murder, and manslaughter.

Additional Violent Crime Charges

Beyond assault, battery, and murder, California recognizes other violent felonies that cover acts such as:

  • Mayhem
  • Robbery
  • Certain acts of arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Carjacking
  • Extortion
  • Threats to witnesses
  • Specific burglary offenses

Additionally, certain sex crimes, like rape and forced oral copulation, are classified as violent crimes if they result in harm to the alleged victim, leading to more severe legal consequences.

Results of California Violent Crime Convictions

Convictions for violent crimes in California typically result in fines and incarceration, mirroring consequences for other criminal charges. However, the legal system often imposes additional penalties for violent crime convictions, such as the loss of the right to own or purchase firearms, mandatory attendance in anger management programs, and the placement of a strike on an individual’s criminal record.

Contact an Experienced Violent Crimes Defense Attorney

At Bernal Law, we recognize the profound emotional toll and lasting impact violent crime accusations can have on your life. Attorney Pedro Bernal’s unique perspective as a former prosecutor with almost a decade of experience means we understand the complexities of the legal system and the strategies the other side employs. Fluent in both English and Spanish, we prioritize clear communication to ensure you are heard and understood throughout the legal process. 

Attorney Bernal’s extensive background as a Deputy District Attorney in the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, coupled with his role as a Special Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting federal crimes, underscores our commitment to results, especially in major federal cases where outcomes are pivotal. If you or a loved one is confronting charges related to violent crimes, reach out to Bernal Law by completing our online contact form by calling (619) 736-9092.

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