Violent crime refers to any crime that involves inflicting physical harm or threatening to inflict physical harm to another person. The term usually refers to harm that is intentionally inflicted by the assailant onto the victim. In some cases, the violence is a means to achieving another criminal purpose, such as theft. "Violent crime" statistics are often cited to describe the relative safety levels of a particular city or neighborhood.

What Are Examples of Violent Crime?

Some examples of violent crime include: assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery (use of a weapon, intent to commit another crime such as sexual assault, or assault/battery on a child, woman, or police officer), various homicide cases, sexual assault, robbery, and other more specific crimes (such as gang violence).

Also, some unintentional acts may lead to serious consequences. An example of this is DUI homicide, where a drunk driver unintentionally kills an innocent driver or passenger. This is not always classified as violent crime, but it can lead to similar sentencing procedures.

How Does Sentencing Work for Violent Crimes?

Sentencing for violent crimes is usually based on the seriousness of the crime. For minor offenses like simple assault and battery, the charges usually fall under the category of misdemeanor crimes. These are punishable by a short time in jail (one year or less) and some criminal fines.

More serious charges like homicides or sexual assault cases are filed as felonies. Felony charges can lead to longer sentences in a federal prison (more than one year) and hefty criminal fines. Also, felonies are harder to remove from one’s record, and may result in the loss of various rights and privileges for the defendant. For instance, a violent offender who was charged with armed battery may lose their right to own a firearm in the future.

Various defenses may be available for the defendant, but this will depend on the facts of the case as well as state laws.

Do I Need a Lawyer for help with Violent Crime laws?

Violent crimes can often involve very serious incidents that involve heavy criminal penalties. It’s in your best interests to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney if you need representation. Your attorney can assist you with your case, and can help with the legal research and argumentation that is needed for a successful defense. Criminal laws can vary by state, but an attorney can provide assistance with your particular state’s criminal statutes.