A violent crime is any criminal act involving the use or threat of violence, and facing prosecution for a violent crime in Orange County can be devastating, especially if the offense falls under California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law, which is designed to significantly increase the prison sentences of repeat offenders convicted of multiple serious or violent crimes. An experienced violent crimes attorney can ensure your rights and your future are protected.
Even violent crimes that don’t qualify as “strike” offenses tend to be charged and prosecuted as felonies, and the criminal penalties a defendant will face upon conviction for a violent felony crime can be life-changing, even for those with little or no criminal history.
Orange County Violent Crimes Attorney
Violent crime is widespread in Orange County and throughout Southern California, and in an effort to reduce the rate of violent crime, law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office have ramped up the investigation and prosecution of violent crime offenses. As a result, California leads the nation in imposing harsh criminal sentences for violent offenders.
Unfortunately, because of unfortunate issues like mistaken identity, careless police work, fabricated evidence, and overzealous prosecutors, innocent people often find themselves facing charges for violent crimes they didn’t commit. Our criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group understand that every violent crime case is different, with unique circumstances that can affect prosecution and sentencing, and we are committed to giving each and every client the personalized attention their case deserves.
The state of California has some of the toughest sentencing laws in the country, and violent crimes like assault and battery and domestic violence do not go unpunished in Orange County.
In fact, these types of crimes are subject to harsh, long-lasting penalties that can follow you for the rest of your life, even after you have served your county jail or state prison sentence. In light of the severity with which violent crimes are prosecuted and punished, any time you are facing prosecution for a violent crime in Orange County or the surrounding counties, hiring the right criminal defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make.
Our legal team at Seyb Law Group has more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, and we are committed to aggressively and skillfully protecting the rights of the criminally accused in the community. We also offer potential clients a free initial consultation, which means you can have a top violent crimes defense attorney evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case with no obligation to hire our firm.
Violent Crimes Definition
Generally speaking, any crime that involves some sort of violence or threat of violence or that causes or could potentially cause serious injury to another person can be charged and prosecuted as a violent crime. Being charged with a violent crime requires immediate intervention by a defense attorney with a proven history of success defending Orange County violent crimes cases.
With an experienced defense attorney on your side, you may be able to get the violent crime charge reduced to a lesser offense, get your case dismissed altogether, or at least minimize the consequences of a violent crime conviction. Below are some of the most common Orange County violent crime charges our firm handles.
“Domestic violence,” also known as spousal abuse, is the term used to describe any act of intentionally or recklessly using physical force against a current or former spouse, intimate partner, domestic partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, cohabitant, or fellow parent. The two most common types of Orange County domestic violence crimes are known as “corporal injury on a spouse” (Penal Code § 273.5 PC) and domestic battery (Penal Code § 243(e)(1) PC).
Assault & Battery
The phrase assault and battery are commonly used to describe a single crime, but assault and battery are actually two separate offenses with their own criminal penalties, though they are often charged together. Under Penal Code § 240 PC, assault is defined as an “unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury” on another person, and under Penal Code § 242 PC, the battery is defined as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence” against another person. To threaten or attempt to use force or violence against someone else constitutes the crime of assault, while the actual use of force or violence against a person constitutes the crime of battery.
The term “weapons charges” refers to any crimes that involve the use of a potentially deadly weapon, such as a firearm or knife, or even a baseball bat, a vicious dog, caustic chemicals, or your fists or feet if you use them to punch or kick someone. Criminal offenses that can be prosecuted as weapons crimes in Orange County include assault with a deadly weapon (Penal Code § 245(a)(1) PC), brandishing a weapon (Penal Code § 417 PC), carrying a concealed firearm (Penal Code § 25400 PC), and the unlicensed sale of firearms (Penal Code § 26500).
The crime known as arson in Orange County is characterized by the act of willfully and maliciously setting fire to any building, forest land, or property. Under Penal Code § 451 PC, arson is always a felony, but under Penal Code § 452 PC, the crime of reckless burning or recklessly setting fire to a building, forest land or property, is a misdemeanor offense.
PENALTIES FOR ORANGE COUNTY VIOLENT CRIMES
Orange County takes a tough stance against violent crimes, and these types of crimes are prosecuted aggressively and punished harshly under the law.
The criminal penalties arising from any individual violent crime conviction depend a great deal on the specific circumstances of the case, namely the nature of the alleged crime, whether someone else was injured as a result of the crime, the existence of any aggravating factors, and whether the defendant has any prior criminal convictions. In addition to a potential county jail or state prison sentence, an Orange County violent crime conviction can result in considerable fines and can adversely affect your employment prospects, your professional licensing, your civil rights, and even your immigration status.
Although violent crimes can range in severity from a misdemeanor to felony offenses, a majority of violent crimes are charged and prosecuted as felonies, and almost across the board, convictions for violent felonies carry a potential punishment of imprisonment in state prison.
Additionally, if the violent crime falls under the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention (STEP) Act, which imposes sentencing enhancements for felony crimes committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang, you could face an even longer and stricter sentence. Under Penal Code § 186.22(b) PC, if you commit a specific felony crime in Orange County with the intent to assist or promote a gang, the “gang enhancement” crime is punishable by an additional sentence of up to life in prison.
California’s “Three Strikes” Sentencing Law
The state of California has a “Three Strikes” sentencing law in effect, which imposes significantly harsher prison sentences for individuals convicted of serious or violent felonies who have one or more prior felony convictions on their record. Under this law, if you are convicted of a violent felony like assault with a deadly weapon, and you have one prior “strike” offense on your record, you could face twice the prison sentence otherwise required by law for that crime. If you are convicted of that same violent felony, and you have two or more strike priors on your record, you could automatically face a prison sentence of 25 years to life. Violent crimes that can constitute strike priors in Orange County include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Assault with a deadly weapon – Penal Code § 245(a)(1) PC
- Assault on a public official – Penal Code § 243(b) and § 243(c)(2) PC
- Assault with the intent to commit a specific felony – Penal Code § 220 PC
- Sexual battery – Penal Code § 243.4 PC
- Battery causing serious bodily injury – Penal Code § 243(d) PC
- Arson – Penal Code § 451 PC
ORANGE COUNTY CA VIOLENT CRIMES DEFENSE
Any time you have been arrested for or charged with a violent crime like domestic violence, assault and battery, arson or weapons charges, it is important to remember that, regardless of the nature and severity of the crime you are accused of committing, you still have rights, including the right to legal representation and a fair trial. It is especially important to be aware of your rights in the case of a violent criminal offense, because the consequences of a violent crime conviction can be long-lasting and far-reaching, with repercussions affecting virtually every aspect of your life. Fortunately, no matter what criminal charges you are facing, you are always presumed innocent unless proven guilty, and the burden of proof in a violent crimes case lies with the prosecution. That means, in order to convict you of a crime, the prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, to get a conviction for battery, the prosecutor would have to show that you:
- Touched someone else,
- Did so willfully, and
- In a harmful or offensive manner.
HOW HIRING A VIOLENT CRIMES DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
Violent crimes in Orange County are prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, which has unlimited resources at its disposal to ensure that defendants accused of violent crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is imperative that you hire a defense attorney prepared to stand up to the prosecution and do everything in his or her power to challenge the criminal allegations against you.
For instance, if your attorney can raise questions that create doubt in the minds of the jury as to your guilt, and the jury is, therefore, unable to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then you cannot lawfully be convicted of the crime you are accused of committing. At Seyb Law Group, our defense lawyers can provide you with the representation you need to protect your rights.
Facing prosecution for a violent crime in Orange County means your future and your freedom are quite literally on the line and only with a skilled, trial-tested attorney on your side can you mount a winning defense. At Seyb Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys understand how devastating a violent crime conviction would be for you and your loved ones, and we will do everything in our power to help you get the best possible outcome in your case.
Unlike larger firms that tend to value quantity over quality, our lawyers are committed to working directly with clients to ensure that all of their legal needs are met. We will personally examine every detail of your case to find any holes in the prosecution’s case, launch an independent investigation into the allegations against you, interview expert witnesses to strengthen your position, and work tirelessly to ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process.
CONTACT OUR ORANGE COUNTY CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
Because of the broad scope of Orange County violent crime law, which covers everything from assault and arson to kidnapping, manslaughter, and murder, you could end up facing violent crime charges for an incident you believed to be nothing more than a minor encounter, such as an altercation at a bar.
For instance, most people don’t realize that to be charged with the violent crime of assault, you don’t even have to physically lay a hand on another person. Just by threatening violence against another person and having the ability to carry out the threat, you could find yourself charged with criminal assault and facing hefty fines and time in county jail.
If you have been arrested for or charged with a violent crime in Orange County or the surrounding counties, do not hesitate to protect your legal rights. Contact our Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today to begin building a solid defense in your case.