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Violent Crimes Lawyers

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What is Violent Crime?

A violent crime is conduct that involves the intentional threat, attempt, or actual infliction of physical harm to another person. Not all violent crimes require there to be physical harm. Threatening actions that cause others to fear that they will be harmed is often enough to constitute a violent crime. Violent crimes include, but are not limited to:

What are the Penalties for Violent Crime?

Violent crimes often involve serious legal penalties including criminal fines, jail time, and in some instances the death penalty. Penalties for violent crimes vary considerably depending on the seriousness of the crime, how it is classified, and other factors unrelated to the criminal act itself (criminal history, signs of contrition, extent of the harm caused). 

Generally, these crimes are separated into felonies and misdemeanors. Less serious violent crimes such as battery are often classified as misdemeanors and carry a maximum prison sentence of 1 year. In contrast, crimes such as armed robbery are considered felonies and carry a minimum of 1 year in jail, as well as possible fines, the loss of the right to own a firearm, and a possible need to disclose the crime to future employers.

Are There any Legal Defenses for Violent Crime?

There are several defenses for a violent crime charge:

  • Self-Defense: The defendant can claim that that he used violence to defend themselves or others from imminent great bodily harm. The use of force by the defendant must be proportional to the force being used against them. Also, the defendant cannot be the aggressor or initiator of the violence.
  • Intoxication: Mere intoxication is not enough to protect you from criminal charges. Intoxication is only a defense to a charge if the level of intoxication was so great to negate the mental state or mens rea required by the criminal charge (e.g. intent to kill). Not all violent crimes require the defendant to have a specific mental state, meaning this will not always be an available defense.
  • Defense of Property: Using force to defend property is generally only a defense if the trespasser was using force against the property owner.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Defending Against Violent Crime Charges?

Violent crime charges can lead to very serious legal penalties. When faced with criminal charges, your best interests will be served by hiring a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney can help determine whether you have any defenses and represent you during the court proceedings.

Photo of page author John Kirby

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-04-2018 05:08 PM PDT

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