Los Angeles Violent Crimes – Frequently Asked Questions

As many would expect, some of the most serious crimes in the Los Angeles area are offenses involving acts of violence. Violent crimes carry stiff penalties and those who have been arrested or charged with a violent crime often have many questions. The following are some of the more frequently asked questions regarding violent crimes in Los Angeles.

Q: "Are Domestic Violence Offenses Treated Differently?"

In California, domestic violence is defined as any assault, battery, threat, act of vandalism or other offense in which the victim shares a "domestic relationship" with the defendant. This relationship does not need to be a romantic relationship and includes siblings, parents, children and other close relatives.

When a person is charged with a domestic violence offense, the court is required by law to impose a criminal protective order at the time of the defendant's arraignment, even if the alleged victim does not want a protective order.

Those convicted of domestic violence offenses will permanently lose firearm rights and will face mandatory sentencing provisions.

After receiving immense criticism for largely ignoring domestic violence in the past, police and law enforcement agencies now take the opposite approach and aggressively pursue domestic violence when alleged. Most law enforcement agencies will make an arrest on every domestic violence call, even if the other party does not want to press charges. In addition, prosecutors will often push forward on criminal cases even where the alleged victim does not want prosecution.

Early intervention is often critical in trying to stop domestic violence charges prior to filing and anyone arrested on suspicion of domestic violence should speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles criminal defense attorney immediately.

Q: "Are Violent Crimes Considered Strike Offenses?"

Under California's "Three Strikes" laws, certain criminal offenses that are considered "serious and violent" are considered strikes for the purposes of sentencing. These include offenses such as robbery under Penal Code § 211, burglary pursuant to Penal Code § 459, criminal threats under Penal Code § 422 and assault with a deadly weapon under Penal Code § 245(a)(1). In addition, if there was an allegation of great bodily injury under Penal Code § 12022.7, the defendant can be sentenced to serve an additional three to six years in prison on top of their underlying sentence.

Those convicted of strike offenses can have their sentences increased substantially on any future convictions for violent crimes. And any person convicted on a third strike can be sentenced to life in prison.

Q: "Are Violent Crimes Felonies or Misdemeanors?"

Violent crimes can include felonies, misdemeanor offenses and "wobblers" that can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. Some violent crimes, such as murder, robbery, residential burglary and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, are straight felonies which can never be reduced to misdemeanors. Other crimes involving violence, such as simple battery under Penal Code § 242 and domestic battery pursuant to Penal Code § 243(e)(1), are always misdemeanors.

Many other violent crimes are wobblers that can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. When making a filing decision, prosecutors will look at factors such as the severity of the conduct alleged and the defendant's criminal history. If a felony offense is a "wobbler," a judge may consider reducing it to a misdemeanor under Penal Code § 17(b).

If you or a loved one have been accused of a violent crime, it is critical that you meet with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands how to effectively defend those accused of violent crimes.

For more information about violent crimes, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Michael Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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