Los Angeles Violent Crime Attorneys
Conviction of a violent crime will alter the course of your life – and when you have so much to lose, you need the legal team at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. With recent changes in California's laws that make the criminal justice system more lenient on people convicted of a "nonviolent felony offense," avoiding a violent crime conviction is more important now than ever before.
Do not answer any questions from police officers or other investigators without your lawyer. Officers and prosecutors often try to trick people into confessions, and a skilled lawyer will know what questions should and should not be answered. We will fight to make sure that your rights and freedoms are protected. Call us at (213) 688-0460 or contact our Los Angeles violent crime attorneys online to schedule a no-cost initial consultation.
In general, a violent crime is defined as a crime in which one person inflicts, or threatens to inflict, bodily harm upon someone else. That is a broad definition, but covers the idea behind why some crimes are classified as "violent" while others are not. A computer hacker accessing a company's database to steal private customer information commits a serious offense, but since there is no bodily harm involved in the process, it is not considered a violent crime.
Violent crimes are often penalized more harshly than non-violent crimes. This is because there is usually a victim involved in violent crimes, someone who has been threatened, harmed, or even killed. An attack on another person will always illicit a harsher response from the court, than a crime that may not involve any bodily harsh, such as petty theft. This means that if you are facing a violent crime charge, you could find yourself behind bars for a very long time if you are convicted.
In California at the moment, there are 23 specific crimes defined by law as "violent crimes." Certain laws enhance punishments for felonies that are considered violent. Violent crimes in California include, but are not limited to:
- Assault and battery
- Aggravated assault (assault with a deadly weapon)
- Weapons and firearm charges
- Sex crimes, including date rape
- Narcotics offenses
- Attempted murder
- Voluntary manslaughter
- Domestic violence
Recent laws in California have created greater leniency, including the possibility of early release from prison, for people convicted of "nonviolent felonies." Unfortunately, at this time there is no clear definition of what constitutes a nonviolent felony under California law - though some people argue it should be any felony that is not on the list of 23 defined violent crimes. That being said, the consequences of committing a violent crime are severe, including substantial jail or prison time, large fines, restrictions on driver's and professional licenses, and of course, damage to your reputation in your community.
The penalties for each conviction will differ, as different crimes have different circumstances. However, most violent crimes are classified as felonies, as they by default involve harm or threat of harm to another person. A felony crime usually has a minimum of one year in state prison, as well as a required probation period after release. On top of that, felons also experience the loss of certain rights, including:
- The right to vote while in prison
- The right to own a firearm
- The right to international travel
- The right to certain employment opportunities
- The right to use community programs such as housing aid
A conviction for a violent crime will have a lasting impact on your life. Not only will you be facing a lengthy prison sentence, you may also have to pay punitive fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, as well as come to terms with the loss of rights that most other Americans enjoy. A conviction for a violent crime can also impact your chances of being gainfully employed, as well getting housing. Many people convicted of violent crimes lose custody of their children, and some even lose visitation rights. There is nothing more devastating that losing a child, so you should fight hard to prove your innocence.
Under California Penal Code 667, many violent crimes fall under the three-strike system. This sentencing scheme is meant to harshly punish criminals who have been convicted three times for particularly serious crimes, often violent ones. While many of the crimes listed on this page already carry harsh penalties, most do not involve prison sentences that go beyond a decade. Under the three-strike system, convicted criminals could face 25 years to life in prison for their third strike. It does not matter how much time has passed since the other convictions: there is no time limit on a third, or even second, strike.
The three-strike system also impacts those who have been convicted a second time. Second strikers, or those convicted of a second violent or otherwise serious felony, could have their prison sentence doubled. For example, if you were previously convicted of robbery, and are now facing a charge of burglary, while normally the maximum sentence for burglary is six years, it is now 12 due to your prior history and the three-strike system. If you have also been convicted of carjacking in the past, then your penalty for burglary could suddenly go up to 25 years.
Finding the right defense for your case is no easy feat. It requires time, dedication, and a proper investigation. Your attorney will need to look over every shred of evidence, including why and how you were arrested, what the prosecution will be claiming, and the circumstances around the crime itself. As seasoned criminal defense attorneys, we at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP know how best to go about the process. In our experience, some of the most common defenses against violent crimes include:
- It is a case of mistaken identity, and you are not the culprit they are looking for
- You were acting in self-defense
- The violence was accidental and not intentional
- You were never violent, and it is a false accusation
- The police who arrested you committed misconduct
- The evidence against you was seized illegally
- You were never read your Miranda Rights upon arrest and interrogation
There are many possible defenses that can be used in your case, and the sooner we can investigate them, the better.
You absolutely need a lawyer to represent you if you have been charged with, or you are being investigated for, a violent crime in Los Angeles.
Our experienced L.A. criminal defense attorneys will thoroughly investigate the circumstances leading to your arrest, including the arrest itself, as we seek a plea to a lesser charge or dismissal of the charges altogether. We know what it takes to win.
To learn more about what we can do for you, contact our Los Angeles violent crime lawyers to schedule a confidential consultation. Call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 to discuss your case and talk about your options. Though our law office is located in Southern California, we represent clients nationwide in all federal, state, and district courts.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.