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
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.