Penalties and punishment for violent crime convictions are the harshest of all crimes. However, it can be confusing to understand what constitutes a violent crime.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation explains violent felonies include crimes where there is a victim suffering from some type of physical harm or those that carry a punishment of death or life in prison.
Some crimes automatically fall under the violent category. These include murder, rape, sodomy, sexual penetration, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, assault, child sexual assault. Then, there are crimes that may not be as obvious that the law considers violent. These include robbery, arson, threats of harm, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking and extortion.
The law also classifies crimes that have certain elements as violent. Any crime that includes the use of a firearm receives a violent label. The court has some ability to guide charges to a violent crime level.
Generally, if a crime causes harm or may cause harm or leads the victim to believe he or she might suffer harm, then it is a violent crime. Violent crimes are usually felonies, and they carry stiff sentences, including long prison terms and potentially the death penalty.
If you are facing charges, it is a good idea to determine if your crime is a violent crime. You want to be especially zealous in defending yourself against these types of charges since they do carry harsh penalties and consequences. The violent label on charges may completely change how you craft your defense, so it is something of which you want to be aware from the beginning of the process of crafting your case.