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How is a crime categorized as violent?

May 4, 2023 | Violent Crimes

Violent crimes consist of the crimes that get the harshest penalties and punishments in the eye of the law.

But what exactly makes a crime violent? How does the law itself define a violent crime?

Specific crimes categorized as violent

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, violent offenses and crimes cover several categories and topics.

Typically speaking, violent crimes will result in the physical harm of another person or the threat of physical harm to them. They may also carry penalties involving death or life in prison.

Some crimes will automatically fall under this category. They include rape, murder, sexual assault, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, sexual penetration, assault and child sexual assault.

Under the law, crimes such as larceny, robbery, arson, burglary, kidnapping, extortion, carjacking and threats of harm also count as violent crimes.

Crimes with violent elements

Certain crimes may not result in direct physical harm to a person, but still get classified as violent due to elements present in the crime.

For example, any sort of crime in which the criminal used a firearm automatically becomes a violent crime. Courts can use their discretion to label other crimes as violent in a similar way.

Because most violent crimes get classified as felonies automatically, it means that the person accused can face extremely harsh penalties, including life prison sentences or even the death penalty.

For that reason, it is important for anyone facing a charge to know whether or not it is a violent crime.