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Violent Crimes

You commit a violent crime when you engage in an act intending to harm another and inflict injuries. Most California violent offenses are felonies, and the degree of the felony depends on the actions taken, the extent of the harm, and the victim. Violent crimes can carry severe penalties, and even a misdemeanor can result in a year of incarceration. If convicted, you need a skilled Los Angeles defense lawyer who understands the law and can aggressively fight for your freedom and rights. At Leah Legal: Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer, we know your life, future, and reputation are at stake. Our skilled legal team can thoroughly investigate the case facts, including evidence, to build the most effective defense. Discussed below are violent crimes we have previously represented.

California Mayhem Under PC 203

PC 203 makes the illegal or malicious attack on somebody else in a way that results in disability or disfigurement a crime. 

On the other hand, PC 205 defines the even more severe offense of aggravated mayhem as:

  • Intentionally causing a person a disfigurement or permanent disability, or
  • Depriving them of an organ, limb, or member.

Mayhem is a felony punishable by felony probation, a ten-thousand-dollar fine, and up to eight (8) years in prison. However, the judge could enhance your penalties if the victim is:

  • Above 65 years.
  • Below 14 years.
  • Deaf or blind.
  • Quadriplegic or paraplegic.
  • Developmentally disabled.

If one of these cases exists, the judge will impose an additional one- or two-year sentence enhancement, provided you knew or should have known the relevant fact about the alleged victim was accurate.

Mayhem is also a strike crime under the California Three Strikes law. If you have a felony conviction on the criminal record and are subsequently prosecuted with another felony, you will serve double the sentence for the second crime. On the other hand, you become a third striker, if you have two previous felony convictions and are subsequently convicted of another felony. In this case, you will face twenty-five years to life in state prison.

Aggravated mayhem is punishable by life in state prison with the possibility of parole.


PC 187(a) defines murder as the illegal killing of a fetus or a person with malice aforethought.

A defendant acts with malice aforethought when they act with wanton disregard for human life and engages in conduct that involves a high degree of probability that will cause death.

California PC 187(a) categorizes murder as first and second-degree.

First-degree murder encompasses all premeditated killings. It also includes murder that occurs when committing a serious offense like robbery, rape, and carjacking. It carries twenty-five to life in state prison. However, if the killing involved destructive devices, lying in wait, or torture, the only sentencing options are capital punishment or life in prison without parole.

While second-degree murder is also willful, it is not intentional, and there is no premeditation. Examples can include the following:

  • An individual with a previous driving under the influence (DUI) conviction drinking alcohol again and causing a road accident that kills a person.
  • Shooting a firearm into a crowded room and killing a person when you did not plan to kill.

Second-degree murder is punishable by fifteen years to life in prison. However, the judge can enhance the sentence if:

  • You have a previous murder conviction.
  • You shot from a car, and you intended to cause severe injuries.
  • The alleged victim is a peace officer.

Rape Under PC 261

Rape is using fraud, threats, or force to engage in non-consensual sexual intercourse with another person.

To consent, the other party must act voluntarily and freely and know the nature of the conduct. That means you engage in non-consensual sex with another person if:

  • The other party cannot consent because they suffer from a mental health condition.
  • You achieved the intercourse through coercion, violence, or force.
  • The other person was intoxicated or unconscious and could not give consent.

Please note that you can be convicted of rape even if the penetration of the genitalia or vagina by the penis is slight. Also, ejaculation is not required for the behavior to be deemed sexual intercourse.

Rape is charged as a felony whose penalties and consequences depend on the PC 261 victim’s age.

If the rape victim was at least eighteen years, you will spend up to eight years in state prison and register as a sex offender for twenty years or life, depending on the criminal case circumstances. If the victim is between fourteen to seventeen years, you, the defendant, will serve a thirteen-year prison sentence and should register as a lifetime sex offender. If the rape victim is below 14, the defendant will spend eleven years in prison and should register as a lifetime sex offender.

Moreover, the judge will impose an enhanced three to five years in state prison if the rape victim sustained great bodily injuries.


Under PC 215, carjacking involves using fear or force to take a car from somebody else.

Before convicting you, the prosecution should demonstrate the following facts about the criminal activity:

  • The victim has possession of a vehicle.
  • You took the vehicle from their immediate presence or a passenger’s immediate presence.
  • Against will using fear or force.
  • You intended to deprive the person of their vehicle either temporarily or permanently.

Immediate presence refers to the vehicle being within the victim’s control, observation, or reach so that they could retain possession of it if they were not overcome by fear or force.

Carjacking is a felony. The crime carries the following potential penalties:

  • A one-year county jail sentence and probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fine.
  • Up to nine years in prison.

Please note that the defendant faces these penalties for every victim in the vehicle during the carjacking.

Carjacking is also a strikeable offense. You must serve over 85% of your sentence before qualifying for parole.

Extortion Laws

PC 518 defines extortion (also known as blackmail) as using threats or force either to compel somebody else to hand over property or money or to compel a public officer to perform an official act.

Before convicting you, the prosecution team must verify the facts of the offense below:

  • You threatened to engage in any of the below to the victim.
  1. Commit an illegal injury or apply force against them, their property, or another person.
  2. Accuse them or their relative of an offense.
  3. Expose secrets involving them or their relative.
  • When making threats or applying force, you purposed to force the victim to consent to give them an asset or money or to engage in an official action.
  • Due to the threat, the victim consented to give you the asset or money or perform the official act.
  • The victim gave you the property or money or performed the official conduct.

Perfect examples of extortion include:

  • Breaking into a house and taking its owner’s jewelry after threatening to injure them.
  • Receiving money from a car owner after threatening to participate in carjacking.

Violation of PC 518 is a felony punishable by the following maximum penalties:

  • $10,000 in fine.
  • Four years of incarceration.

Sometimes the judge can impose formal/informal probation instead of a prison sentence.

Extortion is also a crime involving moral turpitude. An immigrant can be marked as inadmissible or deported.

Attempted Extortion

A defendant violates attempted extortion under PC 524 if:

  • They use threats of violence or force to acquire property or money from somebody else, and
  • The other party fails to give up the asset or funds in question.

The main difference between attempted extortion and extortion is that the former requires the intent to commit a crime, and the action falls short of the intended behavior. In other words, you are only guilty of attempted extortion if you acted with the intent to extort.

Violation of PC 524 is a wobbler, and the prosecutor can charge the crime as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on your criminal case circumstances. A misdemeanor carries a year in county jail, while a felony attracts three years in state prison.

California Robbery Law

PC 211 describes robbery as taking assets in possession of another person, from their person or immediate presence, and against their will, achieved through force or fear.

Regarding PC 211, possession does not necessarily mean the victim was touching or holding the asset. You can be found guilty of the crime even if the victim had constructive possession (control over the property or the entitlement to control it).

The penalties for PC 211 depend on whether your criminal conduct is first-degree or second-degree robbery.

You will face first-degree robbery if one of the statements below is accurate:

  • The victim was a passenger or driver of a bus, cable car, trackless trolley, streetcar, subway, taxi.
  • The robbery happened in an inhibited trailer, boat, or home.
  • The crime occurred when the victim was using an ATM.

California first-degree robbery is a felony that is punishable by:

  • Formal/felony probation.
  • $10,000 in fine.
  • Three (3), four (4), or six (6) years in state prison.

However, suppose the defendant committed a first-degree robbery in an inhabited structure or concert with at least two people. In that case, the judge will enhance the potential prison sentence to three, six, or nine years.

On the other hand, second-degree robbery is a robbery that does not meet the legal definition of first-degree robbery. It is punishable by felony probation, a $10,000 fine, and five (5) years in state prison.

While robbery is severely prosecuted, there are various legal defenses that a criminal defense advocate can take advantage of to either reduce or dismiss the charges. They include the following:

  • The defendant did not use fear or apply force to seize the property.
  • The defendant believed that they had a right to the assets.
  • The defendant was falsely accused.
  • The defendant was a victim of mistaken identity.

Burglary Under Penal Code 459

According to PC 459, burglary is entering a commercial or residential structure or locked car intending to commit petty theft, grand theft, or any other felony.

Please note that you can be found guilty of burglary even if you did not forcibly enter the structure. Also, the crime is complete after you, the defendant, enter the structure with criminal intent, even if you do not accomplish the crime.

PC 459 is divided into first- and second-degree burglaries. A first-degree burglary happens in residential structures, while a second-degree burglary occurs in any other structure, including businesses and stores.

Residential burglary is a felony. Its potential consequences and sentencing include two, four, or six years in state prison.

Commercial burglary is a wobbler. If charged with a felony, you will spend sixteen months, two years, or three years in county jail. On the other hand, a misdemeanor is punishable by a year in jail.

Forcible Oral Copulation

Forcible oral copulation is non-consensual contact between an individual’s genitals or anus and another’s mouth. The conduct is a crime if:

  • It originates from threat, fear, menace, coercion, violence, or
  • It happens because the victim was unconscious, drunk, or otherwise lawfully unable to give consent.

Penalties and Consequences of Violating PC 287

Violation of PC 287 is a felony. Its penalties include:

  • Three, six, or eight years in state prison.
  • Formal probation.
  • A ten-thousand-dollar fine.

Your sentence will be enhanced if the victim was a minor during the commission of the criminal conduct. You will spend:

  • Six, eight, or ten years in state prison if the minor is at least 14.
  • Eight, ten, or twelve in state prison if the juvenile is below 14.
  • Oral Copulation by Force or Fear in Concert

PC 287 penalties will be enhanced if you committed the crime by fear or force “in concert,” with another person. The enhanced consequences will apply whether you committed the crime or aided and abetted somebody else to violate the law.

In this case, you will face the following penalties:

  1. Five, seven, or nine if the PC 287 victim is above 18
  2. Eight, ten, or twelve if the crime victim is a juvenile who is older than 14
  3. Ten, twelve, or fourteen years is the alleged victim is a child below fourteen
  • Sex Offender Registration

A PC 287 conviction will subject the defendant to the mandatory lifetime sex offender registration requirement as a tier III offender.

The law will require you to register with the law enforcers in your county or city of residence. You should renew your registration,

  1. every time you move to a new place, and
  2. annually, within five days of your birthday.

Arson Law

According to PC 451, it is a crime to maliciously and willfully set fire to, burn, or cause to be burned, or aid, procure, or counsel the burning of a forest land, property, or structure.

Regarding this statute, you can be found guilty of setting fire to or burning using fire to destroy or damage either all or part of something, regardless of how tiny the part is. That means wood charring is adequate evidence of a burn or fire.

Violating the arson law is a felony. Its penalties depend on the category of property burned and whether any individuals suffered injuries. These penalties include the following prison sentences:

  • Sixteen months, two years, or three years for arson of personal property.
  • Three, five, or eight years for arson that burned an inhabited structure or property.
  • Five, seven, or nine years for arson that resulted in great bodily injuries.
  • Two, four, or six years for arson of a forest land or structure.

Arson that results in great bodily injuries (PC 451(a)) or arson that leads to the burning of inhabited property or structure (PC 451(b)) is a strike. PC 667.5 classifies PC 451(a) and (b) as violent felonies. You, the defendant, will face enhanced penalties for a felony conviction if you have a previous strike crime.

Moreover, a conviction can adversely affect your firearm rights. California law prohibits convicted felons from purchasing, possessing, or obtaining a gun.

Voluntary Manslaughter

You can be found guilty of PC 192 if you take another person’s life either:

  • in the heat of passion or upon a sudden quarrel, or
  • upon unreasonable self-defense or imperfect self-defense (unreasonable but good faith belief in acting in self-defense).

Before convicting you, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime beyond any reasonable doubt:

  • The victim provoked you.
  • Due to the provocation, you acted rashly and under the influence of intense emotions that prevented your judgment or reasoning.
  • The provocation would have led an average individual to act rashly and without due deliberation (from passion instead of judgment).

In other words, manslaughter is the illegal killing of someone without malice.

Voluntary manslaughter is a felony. The judge can choose to:

  • Grant one-year probation in county jail, or
  • Deny probation and impose a three (3), six (6), or eleven (11)-year sentence in state prison.

Other PC 192 penalties include the following:

  • A strike on your criminal record.
  • $10,000 in fine.
  • Loss of your right to possess, own, or purchase a firearm.
  • Engaging in community service.
  • Attending counseling services like anger management classes.

Kidnapping Law

PC 207 makes it illegal to move somebody else a significant distance without their consent using fear or force.

In this statute, fear or force means inflicting physical force upon the victim or threatening to inflict imminent bodily harm.

When determining whether the movement is substantial, the judge considers the following factors:

  • The distance moved.
  • Whether the movement increased the risk of harm to the victim.
  • Whether the movement decreased the possibility of the defendant being caught.

Kidnapping is a continuing crime, provided the defendant continues detaining the victim. Consequently, even if they move the victim from point A to point B, the prosecutor can punish them for one kidnapping instance.

PC 207 penalties vary depending on your criminal case circumstances.

Simple kidnapping

Simple kidnapping is charged as a felony that carries the following maximum penalties:

  • $10, 000 in fine.
  • Eight years in prison.

Aggravated kidnapping

If found guilty of aggravated kidnapping, the defendant will face the following:

  • Up to eleven (11) years in prison if the victim was below 14 during the crime commission, or
  • Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole if you kidnapped the victim for ransom or to commit a sex crime, robbery, carjacking, or extortion
  • Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if you kidnapped the victim for ransom or to extort, and the victim:
  1. Sustains bodily injury or dies, or
  2. Is placed in circumstances that expose them to the significant possibility of death.

Handling Weapons of Mass Destruction

An individual who develops, manufactures, transfers, acquires, retains, produces, or possesses a weapon of mass destruction is guilty under PC 11418.

Weapons of mass destruction can include:

  • A nuclear agent.
  • A radiological agent.
  • Chemical warfare agent.
  • Biological warfare or weaponized biological agent.
  • Restricted biological agent.
  • Any vessel, vehicle, or aircraft, if used as a destructive weapon.

A violation of PC 11418 is a felony that carries up to twelve years of incarceration. Sometimes the judge can impose felony probation instead of serving time.

PC 11418 also makes it illegal for you to employ or use a weapon of mass destruction against another person in a manner that results in widespread injury or illness. The violation of this attracts life imprisonment.

To fight the criminal charges, you can raise any of the following legal defenses:

  • You did not make or possess the WMD.
  • You had the legal authority to access the weapon.
  • The police arrested you following an illegal search and seizure.

Sodomy Law

PC 286 defines sodomy as sexual contact between one person’s penis and another’s anus.

Anal copulation between consenting adults is legal in the Golden State, and throughout the U.S. It becomes an offense if the defendant does it with:

  • A juvenile,
  • Without the second party’s consent, or
  • Using fear, threats, or force.

Sodomy is a wobbler when it is done with:

  • A fellow inmate in violation of PC 286(e).
  • A child in violation of PC 286(b)(1).

If prosecuted for a misdemeanor, you will spend up to a year in jail. On the other hand, a felony carries a maximum sentence of three (3) years in state prison.

All other PC 286 violations are felonies that carry time in state prison. The specific amount of incarceration time depends on your case facts.

Find a Qualified Violent Crime Defense Lawyer Me

Violent crimes in Los Angeles cover a wide range of crimes. They involve the application of force, either by threatening to inflict bodily harm on the victim or causing harm to somebody else. These crimes are considered more severe and carry harsher penalties than nonviolent crimes. On top of paying fines and serving time, a conviction comes with a stigma that can affect your ability to secure employment, educational, and affordable housing opportunities.

If facing violent crime charges, hiring a lawyer can make the difference between a criminal record and freedom. At Leah Legal: Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer, we can offer one-on-one attention, analyze the criminal charges against you, and develop the most robust possible defense. Please contact us at 424-600-7164 to book your initial consultation.