Civil law addresses behavior that causes some sort of injury to an individual or other private party, through the use of lawsuits. The legal penalties for any parties found liable for these acts are generally monetary, but can also include court-ordered remedies such as injunctions or restraining orders.

Criminal law addresses behavior that is considered to be an offense against society, the state, or public, even if the victim is an individual person. Someone convicted of a crime will be forced to pay criminal fines, and may also lose their freedom by being sentenced to jail or prison time.

Regardless of whether someone is being charged with a serious crime or a minor crime, the accused person still has the right to a trial, as well as certain other legal protections as provided by the United States Constitution.

Criminal procedure refers to the overall legal process of adjudicating claims for those accused of violating criminal laws. The intention behind all criminal procedures is known as the “presumption of innocence,” meaning that a suspect is considered to be innocent until they are proven guilty.

Criminal procedure includes matters such as:

What Is A Violent Crime?

State laws differ in terms of how they classify violent and non-violent crimes. Generally speaking, violent crimes or violent criminal offenses involve the use of force, and/or injury to the body of another person. The seriousness of a violent crime is generally determined by the degree of physical harm that was caused to the victim.

An example of this would be how some states may impose more severe penalties for crimes resulting in serious bodily harm or serious bodily injury. The seriousness of the crime may be further elevated by the use of a weapon, especially if that weapon is classified as a deadly weapon.

Some crimes may qualify as violent crimes even if the victim of the crime was not injured. An example of this would be how many crimes involving the threat of injury to a person may qualify as a violent crime, such as with assault crimes. The victim’s characteristics could also influence the seriousness of the charges. An example of this would be if the victim was a police officer, a woman, or a child. The defendant will likely be subject to increased charges because of the characteristics of their victim.

A violent crime belongs to the class of crimes containing some element of violence. Threats of harm, especially when immediate and cause genuine fear, can also be considered violent crimes under specific circumstances. Violent crimes are set in contrast to other types of crime, such as property crime, because the other party does not get injured during a property crime.

Different violent crime categories vary based on jurisdiction. However, in general, violent crimes include:

  • Assault and/or battery;
  • Robbery, which can be defined as theft combined with the use of force;
  • Various types of homicides, including murder and manslaughter;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Sexual assault and abuse crimes;
  • False imprisonment; and
  • Armed robbery.

Violent crimes may be considered either a misdemeanor or felony. However, there are some crimes such as homicide that will always be considered as a felony crime. Additionally, some unintentional acts may be categorized as violent crime. An example of this would be homicide resulting from a DUI, which occurs when a drunk driver unintentionally kills someone because of their drunk driving. Whether this will be categorized as a violent crime will largely depend on the facts of your case, along with the jurisdiction in which the crime is being tried.

What Rights Do Violent Offenders Forfeit? What Rights Do Violent Offenders Have?

Many individuals who are considered to be violent offenders lose the rights that are afforded to them by the U.S. Constitution. An example of this would be how violent offenders lose the right to sit on a jury. However, the type of rights that are taken away may also depend on the jurisdiction in which the individual lives.

As a violent offender, you are generally prohibited from legally possessing a gun. As such, many jurisdictions require firearm dealers to conduct background checks prior to selling a gun in order to ensure that the person purchasing the gun is not a violent offender.

The rights to public benefits such as food stamps, cash assistance, SSI, and public housing are prohibited for a violent offender.

A violent offender’s criminal past will also affect their rights associated with visitation and/or custody. Many people who are convicted of violent crimes have their parental rights diminished, especially in custody and divorce battles.

Whether a violent offender can regain some of their rights after leaving prison largely depends on the state in which they live. Some jurisdictions prohibit violent offenders from voting until they are released from prison, while other jurisdictions ban voting for life because of the violent crime. However, violent offenders retain the right to a U.S. passport. It is important to note that while the United States will permit the individual to travel abroad, the country that they want to visit may not.

Your violent criminal record may prevent you from being hired by certain employers. Many private employers conduct criminal background checks on all of their applicants, and some employers may not hire someone who was convicted of a violent crime. Violent criminals are also prohibited by the federal government from the following professions:

  • Teaching;
  • Law enforcement agencies;
  • Military; and
  • Child care.

Am I Eligible For Parole Or Probation As A Violent Offender?

Parole is a part of criminal sentencing involving the early release of a defendant. State laws vary regarding parole; however, the convicted person must generally serve at least one third of their original sentence in order to be eligible for parole. The parolee can then re-enter society, often in a limited way and under the supervision of a parole officer.

The parolee may need to meet certain requirements, such as:

  • Staying out of legal trouble;
  • Meeting regularly with their parole officer; and
  • Performing community service acts.

Parole is more common for less serious crimes and for juvenile offenders, and is often similar to probation.

Supervised probation is an alternative form of sentencing which allows convicted offenders to avoid jail time. Instead of going to jail, they must follow a strict set of rules, such as:

  • Maintaining and adhering to a curfew;
  • Keeping a job; and
  • Prohibition from associating with known criminals.

If these rules are violated, the offender may then be sent to prison.

While supervised probation and parole are similar, the most notable difference would be that parole involves supervision of a person who has been released from jail, after they have already served some or most of their sentence. Alternatively, probation may be issued before the defendant has served their sentence. Whether a person is eligible for parole or probation will be determined by each state’s laws regarding the matter. Generally speaking, violent crimes are not eligible for parole or probation.

Do I Need A Lawyer For Help With Violent Offender Rights?

Being convicted of a violent crime can have a substantial negative impact on your personal and professional life, which lasts long after you have finished serving a prison sentence.

If you want to understand more about the rights that you may lose as a result of a violent crime conviction, you should contact a criminal attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific laws, and will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.