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Tarzana Violent Crimes Attorney

Tarzana Violent Crimes Attorney

Tarzana Violent Crimes Lawyer

Violent criminal offenses are penalized very harshly in criminal court. They may be classified as misdemeanors or felonies, and a conviction can result in significant fines, jail or prison time, a permanent criminal record, and a Three Strikes Law strike. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a violent crime, it is important to contact a Tarzana violent crimes attorney. An attorney gives you your greatest chance of lowering or eliminating the penalties for the charges you face.

Violent crime charges often have harsher penalties than other crimes, and they may also result in fines for restitution and/or a civil claim filed by the injured party for damages. These cases can be incredibly complex, with long-reaching penalties if you are convicted. It’s important to work with a violent crimes criminal defense attorney who has the success and resources needed to build a good defense and advocate for your rights in criminal court.

Tarzana Violent Crimes Attorney

Find an Effective Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tarzana

At the Law Offices of James E. Silverstein, our team is dedicated to your defense. James E. Silverstein has more than 20 years of legal experience, with a focus on criminal defense. He has handled thousands of cases over the course of his career, having worked in both state and federal courts. He fights tirelessly for the rights and interests of his clients and his community.

Our firm is proud to advocate for the rights of our community in Tarzana and all the locations we serve. Our team understands the importance of a criminal case’s outcome on your future and the future of your family, and we treat that with the respect and responsibility you deserve. A conviction for a violent criminal offense comes with much more serious penalties than other types of crimes. Working with experienced criminal defense attorneys is essential to protect yourself from these harsh penalties.

Our team can look over the facts of your criminal case and the violent criminal offenses you are being charged with. We gather the information and evidence needed to craft the strongest legal defense possible, one that could lower or eliminate the penalties you face. You may be charged with a violent offense for the first time, or you may face the Three Strikes Law. Either way, our team can provide dedicated legal support.

What Is Considered a Violent Crime in California?

A violent crime is any criminal offense that uses physical harm, force, or the threat of physical harm to another person. It can also be a crime where an individual fears for their safety and well-being. Violent crimes can occur without a firearm or deadly weapon involved. Examples of violent crimes include:


Burglary is the crime of breaking and entering into a location illegally with the intention of committing a crime. This crime is not always theft. Burglary is not inherently a violent crime, unlike robbery, which involves violence or the threat of force. If the crime you intended to commit during a burglary was a felony, and it occurred in another person’s residential home, a burglary is likely to be charged as a violent crime. It may result in 2 to 6 years in prison and contributes to the three-strikes system.


Carjacking is the crime of stealing a motor vehicle through violence, threat, or intimidation. This makes it a violent crime, rather than simple theft. It can result in 3 to 9 years in prison. This crime is often seen in connection with other crimes like kidnapping, which increases the penalties. Carjacking is one of the felonies in California that is part of the three-strikes violent felony system. This can significantly increase your penalties for the crime if you have a criminal history and prior strikes.


The charge of kidnapping is the forced restrainment of a person, holding them against their will by force or threat. A kidnapping conviction is always a felony and can result in up to 8 years in prison. Additionally, a kidnapping conviction can result in significant personal and professional consequences.

The charge of kidnapping can be aggravated if:

  • The kidnapped person was seriously injured or killed.
  • A ransom was demanded.
  • The kidnapped person was under the age of 18 or under the age of 14.
  • There were other crimes committed, such as carjacking or sexual assault.

Depending on the aggravating factors, an aggravating kidnapping charge can lead to a prison term from 11 years to life. Kidnapping, in certain cases, could even be a federal crime.

The severity of these charges can be overwhelming. It is important that you work with an experienced attorney to provide you with the strongest possible defense against this offense.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a term that refers to any acts of violence or abuse against family members or household members. It can occur between couples who are:

  • Married
  • Divorced
  • Dating
  • Romantic or sexual partners

It can also occur between:

  • Roommates
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • Extended relatives

These individuals do not necessarily have to live together for domestic violence to be charged.

Domestic violence does not only refer to physical abuse. It also refers to:

  • Stalking
  • Intimidation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Terrorization
  • Economic abuse

Some forms of domestic violence may not be considered violent crimes, but they are still taken very seriously. Domestic violence crimes often carry more severe charges than assault or other crimes that do not qualify as domestic violence.

These offenses can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances. They can also result in fines, incarceration, fines, restitution, and a restraining order placed by the victim.

A restraining order could place many restrictions on your life, including forcing you to move from your shared home, keeping you from going to certain locations, and preventing you from owning or handling a firearm. Domestic violence charges also have reputational consequences and can affect your child custody arrangement.

Whether you have been falsely accused, committed the crime, or acted in self-defense, it is essential to have skilled legal counsel by your side. These cases can be especially difficult when it is the word of each party against the other. You need an attorney in Tarzana, CA, who can review your situation and determine the most effective defense.

Child Abuse

Child abuse is considered a violent crime if it includes physical or sexual abuse. Violent crimes against children are taken incredibly seriously. Physical abuse includes any form of physical harm or violence, including throwing objects, hitting, slapping, or other forms of terrorization. Sexual abuse includes any form of sexual conduct with a child under the age of consent, which is 18, whether you knew how old they were or not.

These cases and their penalties are very serious, and a sexual abuse conviction would likely result in sex offender registration. If you are charged with physical or sexual child abuse, you need a strong defense and an attorney who has navigated cases like these.

Sex Crimes

Sex crimes are considered violent crimes when there is force, physical harm, or a threat of physical harm. These offenses, such as indecent exposure or prostitution, are typically not charged as violent crimes. Violent sex crimes typically include rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and similar crimes. Sex crimes that constitute violent crimes may include:

  1. Rape and Sexual Battery: This includes forced and non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse, often with physical force.
  2. Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse, consensual or not, with a child under the age of 18 is illegal.
  3. Aggravated Sexual Assault: This is a more serious charge, as is rape or sexual battery with the use of aggressive physical violence and force.
  4. Sexual Assault With a Weapon: Sexual assault or battery with any type of weapon results in more serious penalties.

If you are convicted of a sexual criminal offense, you face standard criminal penalties like incarceration and fines. You may also face paying monetary restitution to those harmed by your actions.

A sex crime conviction usually results in registration as a sex offender, which may be for several years or for life. This is a publicly accessible database, and you may be required to disclose your status in certain situations. Being a registered sex offender can bring significant social, personal, and professional consequences, and it may limit where you can live and go. It can also prevent you from attaining certain forms of employment. Your registration can be altered or removed, but it takes specific circumstances and the help of a qualified attorney.

To have the greatest chance of avoiding the penalties of a conviction, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you have any prior sex crime convictions, it is even more vital that you have a strong defense to limit the effect that these penalties will have on your life.


Assault and battery are two different violent criminal offenses. Assault is the threat of force, including both the ability to use force and the willful attempt to enact violence. The assault victim must fear harm coming to them for assault to be charged. Assault may be charged as simple assault or aggravated assault, and it can be either a misdemeanor or a felony charge.

Simple assault is typically a misdemeanor. It occurs when no physical contact has been made, but there was an attempt at violence, the ability to follow through on threats, or the knowledge that an action would likely lead to the application of force and harm.

Aggravated assault is typically charged as a felony, and it occurs when the elements of assault are present and the victim faces serious bodily injury, or there was a deadly weapon used during the crime. A deadly weapon may include a firearm, blunt object, or sharp object. An object that is not considered a weapon could be deemed a deadly weapon if it is used to harm another person.


Battery is the use of violent or forceful touching against another person, which is often a misdemeanor. When this action causes serious bodily injury, it is considered aggravated battery and is usually charged as a felony. Serious bodily injury may include broken bones, head or brain trauma, or a laceration that requires stitches.

More serious injuries will result in a felony charge, while less severe injuries could result in a misdemeanor charge. Aggravating factors, like prior convictions or the use of a deadly weapon, can also worsen the penalties. Felony aggravated battery could result in thousands in fines and up to 4 years in prison.

Sometimes, battery charges are pressed despite both parties being involved in a fight, and blame is wrongly assigned. Whatever the situation, when you face battery charges, you need an experienced attorney to review your case and help limit the potential penalties.


Manslaughter is the charge of killing another person but without the intent or premeditation to kill them. There is both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, both of which are felonies. Manslaughter charges occur when your actions show extreme indifference to human life.

One of the most common instances of manslaughter is vehicular manslaughter. This is typically charged when you are driving recklessly, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and then hit and kill another person. The severity of the charge depends on whether the individual was negligent in their actions, or inactions, or if they were grossly negligent. Penalties can include incarceration, fines, and license suspension.


Murder is the crime of killing another person with the intent to do so. This crime is classified as either a first- or second-degree offense, and it also includes felony murder. The difference between first- and second-degree murder is the presence or level of premeditation and malice aforethought.

Both types of murder rely on some level of malice, which is the intention to kill or engage in dangerous, illegal, or unsafe actions that show no regard for human life. A murder conviction can result in decades to life in prison.

The degrees of murder also rely on other factors, such as a justification, including self-defense or defense of others, and your state of mind. Felony murder can be either first- or second-degree murder, and it occurs when an illegal action causes an unintended death. Crimes such as robbery, arson, kidnapping, sexual assault, and carjacking may be charged as first- or second-degree felony murder if someone died as a result of the crime.

Second-degree murder typically involves no premeditation. Instead, it involves actions or conduct that are inherently dangerous or hazardous to human life. Driving under the influence and killing another person could result in manslaughter or second-degree murder charges, depending on the unique circumstances. First-degree murder is premeditated and deliberate, and it also includes someone dying during the commission of specific felonies.

Murder charges and convictions come with some of the worst social and professional consequences of any violent offense, and it is considered one of the most serious crimes overall. You need a criminal defense attorney who understands this severity and knows how to navigate the unique case you face. Common defenses for murder charges may include self-defense, defense of others, a lack of premeditation, or even mistaken identity. An attorney is essential to determine the ideal defense strategy.

Are Violent Crimes Federal Offenses?

Violent crimes could be charged as a federal offense, depending on the unique circumstances. If a criminal offense crosses state lines or occurs on land managed by the federal government, it can be prosecuted as a federal offense. If a violent crime, such as assault, battery, or manslaughter, is committed against a federal officer, it is also prosecuted as a federal offense.

In some cases, an individual can be prosecuted by both state and federal institutions. However, most violent crimes are charged under state jurisdiction.

What Are the Penalties for Violent Crimes?

Violent crimes may be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the crime and its circumstances. A misdemeanor under state law is any crime with a sentence of 1 year or less in jail. A felony is any crime that is punishable with at least 1 year in prison. In addition to incarceration, these offenses may also include other forms of criminal and civil penalties, such as:

  • Hundreds to thousands in fines
  • Restitution paid to the individuals hurt by the violent crime
  • Civil claims, like personal injury claims, filed by the victim or their family
  • Probation, community service, rehabilitation, treatment, educational classes, and other forms of alternative sentencing in place of, or in addition to, a jail or prison sentence
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • The loss of recreational or professional licenses
  • Loss of the right to vote and the right to own firearms if the charge is a felony
  • Negative impact on an immigration status
  • A criminal record

A conviction for a crime can have an immediate impact on your housing, employment, and other aspects of your life. Establishing a criminal record results in other significant consequences in your life that extend beyond the immediate criminal penalties. A criminal record can cause:

  • Job loss
  • Difficulty gaining new employment
  • Restriction from certain fields of employment
  • Limitations on schooling and higher education
  • Limitations on getting loans
  • Child custody loss
  • Immigration status loss
  • Difficulty obtaining housing

These collateral consequences can affect you for the rest of your life. The most effective way to avoid these penalties is to work with a qualified defense attorney. An attorney may be able to reduce the charges to a lesser sentence, request a plea deal for limited penalties, or even get the charges dismissed.

Understanding the Three Strikes Law

The Three Strikes Law in California is incredibly important to understand if you are charged with and/or convicted of violent criminal offenses. This law lists several felonies as serious and violent felonies. This three-strikes system harshly punishes those convicted of violent felonies, and it increases the severity of the penalties for any repeat offenses. Sometimes, these repeat offenses and multiple strikes can all be charged from the same incident.

If you are convicted of one of these serious and violent felonies, it counts as a strike. If you receive a second strike for a serious and violent felony offense, the penalties for a conviction could result in double the prison sentence. This means that an offense that would otherwise result in 4 years in prison instead could increase to 8 years. On your third strike, you could face a sentence from 25 years to life.

This applies to crimes such as carjacking, burglaries, and robberies, in addition to other violent crimes, like homicide, assault, and battery. In certain cases, even nonviolent offenses could be considered priors under the three strikes law, although these laws are frequently changing. An attorney is important for reviewing your unique situation and criminal history so that you can better understand the reality and severity of your charges.

The criminal justice system punishes these crimes more severely due to the threat they pose to public safety. Unfortunately, not everyone who receives the penalties associated with the Three Strikes Law deserves the severity of these charges. If you are charged with a violent and serious felony that is listed as a three-strike offense, it is essential that you have a criminal attorney to protect your rights.

How Does a Violent Crimes Attorney Help Me?

You have the right to dedicated legal representation when you are charged with a crime. Having a criminal defense lawyer can also help you reach the most positive outcome for your case. Whether you committed the crime you are charged with, were falsely accused, committed it by accident, or had a justifiable reason for committing the crime, you want an attorney to protect your rights.

Just because you are innocent does not mean that the criminal justice system will find you innocent. If you are arrested or charged with a crime in Tarzana, you need to exercise your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system will not protect your interests, but your attorney can protect both your interests and your rights. There are several benefits to working with a seasoned attorney, including:

  • Giving you a straightforward and honest understanding of your case and the charges against you
  • Reviewing the facts of your case, your arrest, and the charges against you
  • Investigating the incident or the arrest
  • Collecting evidence to support your defense
  • Determining what defense is most likely to be effective for your unique criminal case
  • Advocating for your rights and ensuring that they were respected throughout the entire criminal process
  • Determining if a plea deal or other negotiated alternate sentence is the right option for your case
  • Finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence against you
  • Using their firm’s resources, including expert witnesses and other essential professionals who are relevant to the type of charges you face
  • Representing you and your interests in negotiations out of court
  • Arguing and advocating for your rights and defense in court
  • Reviewing a conviction and determining if an appeal or other legal process is viable

An attorney is your greatest chance of avoiding a conviction or limiting the penalties you could get from a conviction.

Common Defenses for Violent Crimes in Tarzana

Every criminal case requires its own unique approach to defense. Your attorney is an invaluable asset for reviewing the unique factors of the violent crime that you are being charged with. They can then determine the potential defenses against those charges.

For a violent offense, defenses are frequently affirmative defenses, such as self-defense, consent, or even insanity. Affirmative defenses confirm that you were the person who committed the act, but they claim that there was another reason for your actions, or you didn’t know what you were doing. Self-defense is one of the most common defenses for violent crimes, and it is the claim that you committed the action out of reasonable fear for your own well-being and safety or that of others.

However, depending on the particular offense or situation, a plea of innocence, such as having an alibi, claiming mistaken identity, or contesting false accusations, could also be possible. Another form of defense is that of constitutional rights violations. If a law enforcement officer failed to read your rights, or violated your rights during the search, seizure, or arrest, evidence gathered at the arrest or at other locations may be dismissed. Depending on the severity of this evidence, it could also result in a dismissal of the case.

How Much Does a Criminal Lawyer Cost in California?

When you are charged with a crime, you have the right to legal defense. There are several factors that can influence the cost of a criminal defense attorney. Typically, the cost of a criminal defense lawyer in California ranges between $150 and $350 per hour, but this cost may increase for violent criminal offenses, as they are more complicated than non-violent offenses. The costs of a criminal defense lawyer depend on many factors, including:

Fee Structure

Most criminal defense attorneys charge based on an hourly fee. However, for more straightforward cases, some may charge a flat fee. A fixed flat fee is likely to be between $1,000 and $15,000, depending on the severity of the charge and the likelihood of going to trial.

Hourly fees are more common, as the attorney may not know the exact amount of time required to represent your case, particularly if the charges are serious and the case is likely to go to court. Although the average cost of a criminal defense lawyer is around $350, this rate may increase significantly based on other factors. An hourly rate can add up quickly, but it may be the better option if the case can be resolved quickly.

Some criminal lawyers charge a retainer fee in addition to an hourly or flat rate, which reserves their legal services throughout the course of a criminal trial.

It is always important to understand the fee structure that an attorney is using for your case, as this can ensure that you can afford their services from the beginning to the end of your case.

The Attorney’s Experience

When an attorney has significant experience and success with criminal cases, they will likely have a higher rate. Although many people may turn away from these higher rates, this is not always in your interests.

An attorney with more experience in criminal cases is more likely to find a favorable resolution to your charges, which could have a significant impact on the rest of your future. Additionally, a more experienced attorney could resolve the case more efficiently, meaning that you could end up with fewer owed hours and, potentially, a lower cost.

Attorneys have an obligation to provide fair and reasonable fees, and the rate an attorney charges is usually representative of their skill, experience, education, and training. However, a high rate does not automatically mean that an attorney is highly experienced or able to effectively represent your type of criminal case. It is important to check their past cases, reviews, successes, and other important information to determine their qualifications.


The area where an attorney and law firm operates will significantly affect the rates they charge. Attorneys will typically charge similar rates for the area, and firms located in cities will have higher rates than those in smaller towns.

The Complexity of Your Case

A more complicated criminal case will result in a higher rate and/or be more expensive because of the greater number of hours required to build a defense for the case. The more time and skill required to defend and advocate for a case, the higher the rate. Professional witnesses, intense investigations, and lengthy trials can all impact the cost.

When you first consult with or meet with an attorney, it is essential that you understand how they will be charging you. An attorney should be fully upfront with you about how they charge for their services in criminal cases and what they will charge for your case. You want to be sure to understand an attorney’s rate before you hire them.

In addition to these factors impacting an attorney’s cost, you also want to consider other legal and court costs. An attorney can help you determine the filing fees and other court costs that may apply to your criminal case.

Contact the Law Offices of James E. Silverstein

When you are facing violent criminal charges, you need experienced, dedicated, and effective legal counsel. At the Law Offices of James E. Silverstein, our team has fought diligently for the rights of individuals in our community. We treat all our clients with care and respect. Contact our team today to learn how we can help you defend your rights against criminal charges.

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