Criminal Defense for Violent Crimes in Los Angeles
Anyone who has been charged and convicted of a violent crime will typically face a substantial sentence in state prison. The California Three Strike Law has enumerated a number of violent crimes as serious and violent felonies. An individual convicted of one of these particular crimes not only faces a substantial period of time in state prison but also must serve 80-85% of their sentence as well. Additionally, an individual who has suffered two previous serious or violent “strike” offenses is subject to a sentence of 25 years to life. These are very serious criminal offenses, as they not only break the law, but they also put the lives, safety, and well-being of innocent people in danger. The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at the Goldstein Law Group have decades of experience defending individuals charged with violent felonies. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of serious cases. James A. Goldstein has tried more murder than 100 murder cases to verdict. Our results speak for themselves.
People who commit violent crimes stand to face a number of very serious penalties, especially since the majority of violent crimes are considered felony offenses. If convicted, people who commit violent crimes may be sentenced to county jail, fines, restitution, probation, parole, of the right to own or possess a weapon, and other penalties. Let’s review the most common types of violent crimes in Los Angeles County.
Assault – California Penal Code Section 240
The crime of “assault” is covered under California Penal Code Section 240. This misdemeanor crime is commonly known as “simple assault” and described as an attempt to commit a violent injury on another person. The popular phrase of “assault and battery” is not accurate as they are actually two separate crimes. It’s important to note that assault charges could be filed against you in situations where there was just an attempt to use force. Battery charges under California Penal Code Section 242 are typically filed when there is actual use of unlawful force or violence against another person. You don’t have to make physical contact with someone else to face charges of assault as it’s sufficient that you acted in a manner that would likely cause physical impact. In order for the Los Angeles County prosecutor to obtain an assault conviction, they must be able to prove the “elements of the crime,” including:
- You acted willfully in a manner that would most likely result in the application of force on another person
- At the time you acted, you knew it would lead someone to believe that your act would most likely result in the application of force
- You had the ability to apply force on the other person
So, what does the important term “application of force” mean? It’s described an any type of harmful or offensive touching and even includes the slightest touch if it was done in an offensive or rude manner. Again, it’s not necessary that you were successful in applying force to someone else. It’s only required that you acted in a manner that could have resulted in the application of force. If convicted of PC 240, you could face up to 6 months in a Los Angeles County jail and a $1,000 fine. The most common legal defense is a self-defense or defense of others argument.
Aggravated Battery – California Penal Code Section 243(d)
The crime of “aggravated battery” is covered under California Penal Code Section 243(d). It’s commonly known in Los Angeles County criminal courthouses as “battery causing serious bodily injury.” It’s described as committing battery on someone that caused some type of serious injury. A “serious bodily injury” is described as a significant physical injury, such as a broken bone, concussion, cut requiring stitches, or a loss of consciousness. The main difference between a battery charge under PC 242 and an aggravated battery charge under PC 243(d) is the level of injury suffered by the victim.
Aggravated battery is a “wobbler” offense meaning the Los Angeles County prosecutor has the discretion to file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony crime. Their decision on how to file the case is typically based on the facts and circumstances of the case and your prior criminal record. If convicted of a misdemeanor case of aggravated battery, you could face up to one year in a county jail and a fine. However, if convicted of a felony, you could face up to four years in a California state prison, a fine up to $10,000, and ordered to pay restitution to the victim. A felony conviction would also count as a “strike” under California’s three strike law. The most common legal defenses include self-defense, false accusation, and the argument the victim did not suffer a “serious bodily injury.”
If you have been accused of aggravated battery, consult with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at the Goldstein Law Group. Don’t talk to the police as you might incriminate yourself. Our attorneys may be able to negotiate a lesser offense or have the charges dropped
Kidnapping – California Penal Code Section 207
The crime of “kidnapping” is covered under California Penal Code Section 207. It’s described as using force or fear to move someone a substantial distance against their will. The critical element of the crime using “force or fear” means you made threats to use physical harm or you actually inflicted physical force on the victim. It’s important to note there are different types of kidnapping that will depend on the circumstances of the case. For example, there is kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping to commit a robbery, rape, or oral copulation, and kidnapping while committing carjacking. Aggravated kidnapping charges could be filed if you moved a victim under 14 years old by using force or fear, hold them for ransom, or they suffer bodily harm or death, or during carjacking. In some cases, kidnapping could be charged as a federal crime.
If convicted of kidnapping, it’s always a felony crime and you could receive up to 8 years in a California state prison and a $10,000 fine. If convicted of aggravated kidnapping, you could face up to 11 years in prison. If the victim was under 14 years old, you could receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole.
Our experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys could use a wide range of strategies against charges of kidnapping. For example, we could argue the victim gave consent to be moved or they were not moved a substantial distance. We might also be able to argue there is insufficient evidence for a conviction or even you were falsely accused.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon – California Penal Code Section 245
The crime of “assault with a deadly weapon” is covered under California Penal Code Section 245. It’s described as an assault on another person with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, which is any instrument used in a manner capable of producing great bodily injury or death. This could include knives, bottles, bricks, rocks, clubs, or other item that has the capability to cause serious injuries. Assault with a deadly weapon is also “wobbler” crime which means again the Los Angeles County prosecutor can file your case as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. The decision on how to file the case will normally depend on the specific details, level of injuries, type of weapon used, and your criminal record. A conviction can lead to harsh legal consequences, including up to 4 years in a California state prison. In order to convict you, the prosecutor has to be able to prove the always important “elements of the crime” including the following:
- You committed an act with a deadly weapon that would have most likely result in the application of force on another person
- At the time you acted, you knew it would probably result in the application of force on someone
- You acted willfully, meaning on purpose
- When you acted, you had the ability to apply force with a deadly weapon
If you actually used a firearm, you could receive up to 12 years in prison. If your victim was a law enforcement officer, you could receive an additional 5 years. A conviction would also count as a strike under California’s three strike law. Common legal defenses include self-defense, false accusation, and you didn’t use a deadly weapon that was likely to cause great bodily injury.
Murder – California Penal Code Section 187
The crime of “murder” is covered under California Penal Code Section 187. It’s described as the unjustified killing of another person with malicious aforethought, meaning you had the specific intent to kill them. This “intent” could be express or implied. Express malice means you intended to kill them and implied malice means your actions were deliberately performed with the knowledge of the danger and conscious disregard for human life. There are different levels of murder charges. Second-degree murder is described as a willful killing of another person, but neither premeditated nor intentional act of murder. First-degree murder is described as killing another person willfully, deliberate, premeditated, or by lying in wait. Capital murder is a special circumstance if your intent to kill another person was for financial gain, murder of multiple victims, murder of a police officer, firefighter, judge, juror, elected official.
The legal penalties for a murder conviction can range from 15 years to a life sentence in a California state prison, depending on the type of conviction and many other factors. There are a wide range of legal defenses our Los Angeles criminal attorneys could utilize in your defense. Every case is unique a requires a thorough examination of all the details and evidence.
Other Common Violent Crimes in Los Angeles
California Penal Code Section 664 – Attempted Murder
California Penal Code Section 203/205 – Mayhem
California Penal Code Section 422 – Criminal Threats
California Penal Code Section 451/452 – Arson
California Penal Code Section 243 – Battery on a Peace Officer
California Penal Code Section 215 – Carjacking
Contact our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with a violent crime, it’s imperative that you obtain the legal representation of a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Violent crimes warrant very serious charges that can easily land you in jail or prison. For cases of this magnitude, why put your future in the hands of a novice attorney? At Goldstein Law Group, we have decades of experience in criminal defense law, and have defended clients against all different types of violent crimes charges. Regardless of the crime involved, we always do our best to build the strongest cases possible, and are not afraid to stand up to powerful prosecutors looking to put our clients behind bars.
Our law firm will aggressively fight your charges and utilize our experience, knowledge, and insight of the law to help you avoid a conviction. To schedule a meeting to discuss your case, contact us to review the details of your case. We serve clients throughout Los Angeles County from our office in the Broadway Hollywood Building located at 1645 Vine St #809 Los Angeles, CA 90028, phone: 323-461-2000.
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