Violent crime may be defined as any crime wherein one person intentionally inflicts physical injury upon the body of another person. The category of violent crime can often include crimes involving the use of a threat of harm in order to accomplish a criminal aim, such as armed robbery. Violent crimes are often set in contrast to other types of crime such as property crime, where the other party doesn’t get injured.
Some examples of violent crime include:
- Robbery (theft combined with the use of force)
- Various types of homicides, including murder and manslaughter
- Sexual assault crimes
- Armed robbery
There may be varying degrees for each of these crimes, such as simple battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, and other variations.
Penalties for violent crime depend on the seriousness of the charges. These often depend on the nature of the crime as well as the extent of the other person’s injuries. Less serious crimes like simple battery may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, resulting in jail time of less than one year, along with some criminal fines.
More serious felony charges such as murder or kidnapping may result in prison sentence of 5-10 years (or more), and heavier criminal fines. Also, "aggravating factors" such as the use of a deadly weapon may result in heavier criminal penalties and consequences.
Self-defense is a type of criminal defense that is often raised in relation to violent crime charges. While jurisidictions may have slightly different rules, most require the following in order for a defendant to be able to rely on a self-defense argument:
- The defendant did not start the confrontation AND
- The defendant used the same amount of force that was used against them
Thus, self-defense may help a person to obtain a lower sentence, or to have the criminal charges dropped.
Understanding how violent crimes laws work can sometimes be challenging. You may need to hire your own criminal defense attorney if you need assistance with violent crime charges or any other type of advice. Your lawyer can provide guidance and legal representation throughout the duration of the criminal trial.