LOS ANGELES VIOLENT CRIMES LAWYER
Crimes involving violence are the most harshly punished crimes in California. Many violent crimes are subject to California's three strikes law, leading to substantially enhanced sentences for repeat offenders. California imposes some of the harshest punishments in the nation on violent offenders.
ASSAULT (More Aggravated Assault Info)
Assault is one of the most commonly misunderstood crimes. Pursuant to PC 240, assault does not require any hitting or any injury. Rather, acting a way likely to produce injury to another while having the present ability to cause the injury. Assault is a misdemeanor, subject to up to 6 months in a county jail and a fine of up to $1000. There are many defenses to assault, including self-defense/defense of others, false accusation/misidentification, lack of intent and lack of present ability. Assault with a Deadly Weapon, or "aggravated assault" PC 245(a)(1) is charged when a weapon is used or when the assault results in a serious injury. "Aggravated assault" is a "wobbler" and may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If charged as a felony, it may also result in a "strike" being charged, having serious consequences for future convictions of any kind.
Battery is the willful use of force or violence upon another. PC 242 essentially makes it a misdemeanor to hit another person. If the use of force or violence causes serious injury, PC 243(d), "aggravated battery" will be charged. PC 243(d) is a "wobbler" and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, with maximum penalties of up to 4 years in state prison and a possible "strike". Defenses include: lack of intent, self-defense/defense of others, and that the injuries caused were not serious.
CRIMINAL THREATS (More Criminal Threats Info)
PC 422 makes it unlawful to threaten to kill or injure another person. Not all threats, however, constitute criminal threats. The threat must be imminent, explicit, specific, unequivocal, unconditional, and place the alleged victim in actual and reasonable fear for their life or safety. This leaves open a wide range of defenses. For example, saying "if you come to my house, I'm going to kill you" is not a criminal threat because it is conditional. Similarly, a threat that the alleged victim does not take seriously or that a reasonable person would not take seriously is not a criminal threat. Criminal threats do not need to be made in person. Threatening someone over the phone or via e-mail or text message can qualify as well. PC 422 is a "wobbler" and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. A felony criminal threat is a "strike".
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (More Domestic Violence Info)
Domestic violence cases are especially complex. Heated arguments sometimes lead to false accusations. At the same time, real victims of serious domestic abuse are often unwilling to come forward. This makes Domestic Violence cases particularly difficult for law enforcement, prosecutors, victims and especially the accused. Domestic Violence incidents are typically charged under two penal code sections. PC 273.5 makes it a crime to inflict a visible injury on a spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, etc. PC 273.5 can be charged as wither a misdemeanor or felony and can, as a felony, carry a sentence of up to 4 years in prison.
PC 243(e)(1), spousal battery, is a battery committed upon someone with whom the defendant has or has had a relationship. Unlike PC 273.5, spousal battery does not require a visible injury. PC 243(e)(1) is a misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to one year in the county jail. All domestic violence offenses are also subject to the imposition of mandatory domestic violence and/or anger management counseling classes.
FALSE IMPRISONMENT/KIDNAPPING (More Kidnapping Info)
Under PC 236 it is a crime to wrongfully detain, restrain or confine another person without his or her consent. False imprisonment can be charged as a misdemeanor, or a felony (if there is violence, a threat or the use of fraud/deceit).
Kidnapping, pursuant to PC 207 occurs when someone moves another person a substantial distance against their will by the use of force or fear. Aggravated kidnapping occurs if the victim is under 14, the defendant asks for ransom, the victim suffers a serious injury or the kidnapping takes place during a carjacking. Aggravated kidnapping carries a life sentence.
PC 192(b), Involuntary Manslaughter is the unlawful, unintentional killing of a human being during the commission of an unlawful act (not amounting to a felony). Involuntary manslaughter is a felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison. PC 192(a) Voluntary Manslaughter applies to passion killings. This occurs when someone acts in the heat of the moment to voluntarily kill someone, but without the opportunity to think and form the intent required for murder. Voluntary Manslaughter is typically reduced from a charge of murder, and is punishable by a maximum of 11 years in prison.
MURDER (More Homicide Info)
Murder, under PC 187, is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. First Degree murder is typically charged for intentional killings, killings by use of bombs and other destructive weapons or killings that occur (even unintentionally) during the intentional commission of a felony (felony murder rule). Second Degree murder is also willful, but not premeditated. First degree murder can be punishable by death if there are any aggravating circumstances present, including but not limited to: murder of multiple victims, hate crimes, murder of a police officer, judge, firefighter, witness, juror or elected official. First degree murder is subject to punishment of 25 years to life in prison. Second degree murder is punishable by 15 years to life.
ROBBERY (More Robbery Info)
For a discussion of Robbery, PC 211, please visit my article on California Theft Crimes
If you or someone you know has been arrested for or charged with a crime of violence in Southern California, contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Loncar now for a free consultation with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney. We will discuss your case, the strengths, weaknesses, defenses and possible outcomes. You need a passionate, aggressive lawyer to fight for you.
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Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
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