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Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

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The term “violent crime” is thrown around a lot, but few people understand that it does not simply refer to any crime that involves violence. A violent crime in California refers to crimes defined under Penal Code 667.5(c).1 Some of the more common violent crimes include murder, voluntary manslaughter, and rape. But you may be surprised to hear that robbery, carjacking, and extortion are also considered violent offenses.

A violent crime is serious, and the penalties—both immediate and long-term—are harsh and potentially life shattering. If you are being charged with a violent crime in California, immediately contact a criminal defense attorney who can begin helping you with your case.

The Punishments Associated with Violent Crimes

violent crime convictionsSeparate from the prison sentence and fines that you face for the crime itself, a violent crime carries with it a number of additional potential penalties.

First, depending on the underlying crime, your sentence could be enhanced. Enhancements are additional prison terms that are added to the original prison sentence that the crime carries. This is done to reflect the harsh nature of the offense, or because you have a particular prior conviction.

One of the most common sentence enhancements is where the crime was committed to benefit a gang. The gang enhancement imposes an automatic 15 years to life prison sentence.

If the crime resulted in the victim suffering great or substantial bodily injury, a sentence enhancement of 3 to 6 years is added onto your prison sentence. Likewise, if the crime involved the use of a gun you could face an additional 10 to 20 years in prison.

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After seeing crime decrease for many years in California, violent crime rates are on the rise in 2015. In fact, the city of Los Angeles reported an overall 12.7% increase in crime with violent crime seeing a 20% increase so far in 2015.1

Possible Causes of Crime Rate Spike

Violent Crime Los AngelesPossible contributing factors leading to increasing crime are a higher prevalence of gang participation in crime, the trickle down effects of Proposition 47, as well as rising drug use and homelessness.

Proposition 47 was a recent legislative initiative where non-violent dug offenders were released from prison early in exchange for rehabilitation and probation. City officials suggest we could be experiencing the side effects of having an influx of ex-convicts now free who are turning back to crime. Criminologist Peter Moskos explains that though it is possible that these individuals maybe partially responsible for a rise in property crime, it is unlikely that Prop 47 releasees are attributable to violent crime, and in either case, it is too early to tell.2

Police Misclassification of Crime

Statistics never lie, but depending on what is reported, the truth of numbers can be seriously misleading. For example, according to one article, the Los Angeles Police Department misclassified 1,200 incidents of felony assault as misdemeanors in 2014, which made it mistakenly appear as if violent crime was declining.3 This blunder alone may explain a significant portion of the rising crime statistics.

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A study published recently in an issue of Science Magazine entitled “Summer Jobs Reduce Violence Among Disadvantaged Youth” showed that when high school students from low-income, high-violence Chicago communities were employed through a One Summer Plus program for eight weeks, violent crime arrests dropped by nearly 43 percent for more than a year after the employment ended.1

How the One Summer Plus Program Worked

summer jobsFor the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania worked with the University of Chicago Crime Lab to establish a summer program in which participants were divided into three groups: no job, summer job, and summer job plus social emotional learning. About 1,634 students participated in the study. The summer job group worked about 25 hours a week at $8.25 an hour, and the summer job plus group worked 15 hours a week at $8.25 and received 10 hours a week of social-emotional learning based on the principals of cognitive behavior therapy. The control group was not offered work through the One Summer Plus program, but were allowed to find their own jobs or summer activities.2 Employed students in the program earned about $1,400 over the summer and were given bus passes and one meal each day.

Nearly all participants were African American with an average age of 16, and more than 90 percent lived in some degree of poverty and carried about a C average in school. Nearly 20 percent of participants had been a victim of crime and nearly 20 percent had an arrest record. All lived in neighborhoods with very high violent crime rates and 19 percent unemployment.

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California Violent Crime RatesCalifornia is seeing record declines in violent and property crimes. Statistics from the FBI and the California Department of Justice indicate that violent crime is at a 46-year low – as low as it was in 1967.

The data is significant because California has seen substantial population growth since the late 1960s. The population growth has been particularly concentrated in sprawling urban areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. Many smaller centers, such as the South Coast, which includes Ventura, Orange, and San Diego Counties, have also seen intense population growth. Despite the development and industrialization of many cities, the statistics show that California is steadily becoming a safer place to live.

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The Department of Justice considers four types of crimes to be violent crimes. These crimes are: Gen%2039.jpg

  • Murder
  • Aggravated assault
  • Rape
  • Robbery

If you have been charged with committing a violent crime, you need to contact an attorney immediately.

Sentence Enhancements for Violent Crimes

Sentences for violent crimes can be severe and it is important for you to be aware of your legal rights. Sometimes, the court can enhance your punishment if you are convicted of a violent crime.

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Robbery Violent CrimeAccording to the California Department of Justice, robbery is considered a violent crime. The Department of Justice describes the following as violent crimes:

  • Murder
  • Assault
  • Rape
  • Robbery

In addition, California Penal Code section 667.5 defines robbery as a violent felony. In California, if you are charged with a violent crime like robbery, you can be subject to even greater consequences and punishments as a result of the violent nature of the crime. It is important that you contact an experienced Riverside violent crimes attorney immediately if you are facing charges for robbery or any other violent crime.

Robbery Sentence (PC 211)

According to California Penal Code section 211, robbery is the “felonious taking of personal property in possession of another, from his or her immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.” In other words, you can be convicted of robbery if you took something from another by means of assault or force.

Under California Penal Code section 213, robbery is broken down into first degree robbery and second degree robbery. First degree robbery is when you entered a home or dwelling of another or robbed someone while he or she was operating a vehicle. If convicted of first degree robbery, you face a sentence of three, six or nine years in state prison. Second degree robbery includes all robberies that are not described as first degree robbery. Robbery in the second degree is punishable by two, three or five years in state prison.

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41 year-old Mark Anthony Stroman sits on death row after he went on a murderous crime spree he says was motivated by “patriotism”. Stroman says he was at home watching the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. After witnessing the attacks, Stroman decided to seek vengeance on those he believed were of middle eastern decent. The Texas inmate killed two men, and seriously wounded another before being arrested.

In California, murder is codified under California Penal Code Section 187. The penal code defines murder as causing the death of another person, or fetus, with malice aforethought. The term “malice aforethought” refers to the murderer’s mental state or intent that must be formed before the act can constitute murder.

What are the punishments for murder in California?

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A 10-year-old Riverside boy was charged for murder in Riverside on May 4, 2011 in the slaying of his father, Jeff Hall, a neo-Nazi leader. Hall was the leader of the Southwest chapter of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi organization, which has held rallies in Riverside and on the U.S.-Mexico border. The boy is charged with intentionally shooting Hall inside his Riverside home. He also was charged with an enhancement for using a gun in the commission of the killing.
During his appearance in Riverside Juvenile Court the shaggy, blond-haired boy sat at an attorney’s table in shackles, wearing an orange Juvenile Hall uniform. The small, skinny, baby-faced boy was slouched in a chair, dwarfed by his attorney. If found guilty of the charges, the boy could remain in juvenile hall until he is 18, or in another youth detention facility until he is 25. Authorities have not said what prompted the shooting, but court records show the boy previously had lashed out violently at home and in school. His public defender told the judge that the defense was weighing several possible pleas, including not guilty by reason of insanity. The prosecutor in the case indicated that it is extremely rare to charge such a young child with murder.
The boy’s biological mother, Leticia Neal, said that she was considering hiring a private attorney to take over the case form the public defender’s office. Juvenile Criminal law in California is very different in many ways from adult criminal law. If your child is facing criminal charges in California it is important to hire a law firm that is familiar with the unique procedures in juvenile criminal court. Nothing is more important than the safety and freedom of your child. Please don’t hesitate to contact the experienced and aggressive juvenile criminal attorneys at the law firm of Wallin & Klarich. We’ll be there when you call.

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A task force made up of local and federal law enforcement agencies is actively pursuing leads into the 1997 slaying of hip hop artist Christopher Wallace, better known as Biggie Smalls or Notorious B.I.G., according to sources familiar with the investigation. According to one law enforcement source, the investigation into the 13-year-old unsolved case was “reinvigorated” months ago as a result of new information, but the source would not elaborate further because of the ongoing investigation that includes the Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

On March 9, 1997, Wallace, 24, was shot and killed while riding in a Suburban that was driving away from a music industry party at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police said a lone gunman in a Chevy Impala pulled alongside the Suburban and opened fire on Wallace, who was in the passenger seat. Witnesses described the suspect as being an African-American man wearing a suit and bow tie. There are several theories behind the murder including that the murder was the result of an “East Coast, West Coast feud between rival rappers and payback for the murder of rapper Tupac Shaker, whose murder was often associated with the rap feud and Notorious B.I.G. While conspiracy theories persist, law enforcement is keeping their new leads into the investigation under wraps and only time will tell if they lead to an arrest.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in California it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of crimes. Our attorneys are highly knowledgeable and will aggressively fight to defend your rights and get you the best possible result in your case. Call us today at (888) 749-0034 or contact us on our website at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.

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Felonies that Require Jail or Prison Sentences in CaliforniaIn California, a felony is a crime which is punishable by death or by imprisonment in the state prison. Every other crime or public offense is a misdemeanor except those offenses that are classified as infractions. Violent and serious felonies defined in Penal Code sections 667.5(c) and 1192.7(c). The most common violent or serious crimes include residential burglary, robbery, kidnapping, murder, most sex offenses like rape and child molestation, any offense in which a weapon was personally used whether or not anyone was injured, any offense in which great bodily injury was inflicted, arson, crimes involving explosive devices, or attempts to commit any of those offenses.

Where an offense for which a person is convicted is a violent or serious felony, in addition and consecutive to any other prison terms imposed upon the defendant, the trial court must impose a new three-year sentence for each prior separate prison term served by the defendant, where the prior offense was one of the violent felonies specified above. Moreover, when a new offense is any felony in which a prison sentence was imposed, the court must impose an additional one-year prison sentence for each prior term served for any felony. However, the court may not impose any additional term for any prior prison term when an individual’s last imprisonment was over five years ago, and that individual has not been convicted or charged with any new felony.

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About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.