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Van Nuys Violent Crimes Attorney

Van Nuys Violent Crimes Attorney

Van Nuys Violent Crimes Lawyer

If you’ve been accused of violent criminal offenses– such as battery, homicide, armed robbery, or assault –seek the experienced legal services of a Van Nuys violent crimes attorney. Even if you don’t think it’s worth fighting the charges against you or plan to plead guilty, having strong legal representation is still important. A capable criminal defense attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the most favorable outcome possible for your case.

At the Law Offices of James E. Silverstein, you can consult with a qualified and compassionate defense lawyer for any charges of illegal activity against you, including drug crimes, a DUI, juvenile offenses, and more. Attorney James E. Silverstein is accomplished in many areas of criminal defense, having over twenty years of legal experience representing clients in both state and federal cases.

Van Nuys Violent Crimes Attorney

What Makes a Crime Violent?

There are various types of crime– theft and burglary, fraud, drug offenses, sex crimes, etc. –and while all of these activities are expressly illegal, none of them are inherently “violent” crimes. Violence implies a degree of malice within the unlawful act, with the offender having an intention to inflict harm or instill fear in another person– whether for an ulterior motive or as the sole motivation.

However, violence can be (and often is) utilized or threatened in tandem with another non-violent crime; doing so would automatically increase the charges to include a type of violent offense in addition to any other violations.

It’s also common for violent crimes to occur as the primary, standalone offense a person is charged with. Regardless of the severity or number of charges you are facing, be sure to speak with a defense lawyer who is educated in criminal law and has extensive experience with the violations specific to your case. Their knowledge could prove to be invaluable when building your defense.

Types of Violent Offenses in California

Just as there are numerous crimes and charges encompassed within a specific type of unlawful activity, such as those classified under “drug violations” or the various forms of fraud, there are many types of violent offense charges a person may be charged with. These are the most common varieties of violent crime:

  • Robbery and armed robbery. Robbery is the unlawful act of theft with a violent component due to forcibly taking another person’s property (regardless of value) against their will or by intimidating them, including threatening the use of physical force. Armed robbery crimes specifically include the use of a deadly weapon, including firearms and other weapons. A robbery violation increases to an aggravated felony if the offender is armed and may face even harsher penalties if the weapon is a gun.
  • Assault and battery crimes. The illegal acts of assault and battery are sometimes used interchangeably or charged simultaneously despite their subtle differences. Assault generally refers to the simple threat of force without any physical contact. Battery refers to an offensive, unwanted physical contact against somebody meant to cause harm. Each respective crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and will be deemed an aggravated violation if there is a deadly weapon involved.
  • Domestic violence. A domestic violence offense may refer to several circumstances since the broad term encompasses any type of violence occurring between family members or those living in the same household.This means blood relatives don’t need to live in the same residence in order for an incident to be considered domestic violence, nor do opposing parties residing in the same household need to be related. If any assault charges– including sexual battery, emotional abuse, stalking, etc. –qualify as domestic violence, the offender is subject to additional penalties if convicted.
  • Gang-related criminal activity. A gang-related offense is any crime committed by someone who’s in a recognized street gang or any person who is affiliated with the gang. Relevant crimes to gang activity include assault, homicide, sex crimes, theft, drug crimes, extortion, and weapons violations.
  • Kidnapping. Kidnapping entails the unlawful, forcible abduction of a person by another party who holds them against their will. Circumstances surrounding a kidnapping will vary but generally are classified as either a child kidnapping, parental kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, simple kidnapping, or an aggravated kidnapping. The details of the offense will impact the penalties in the event of conviction.
  • Homicide and murder for hire. There are different degrees of homicide, or murder, that may be charged against the defendant depending on the circumstances surrounding the unlawful killing of another person.

Murder typically implies some level of malicious intent, but besides the accused’s purported state of mind, other relevant factors include the details of the murder itself and whether it was justified, such as self-defense. Murder for hire refers to a premeditated homicide, whether attempted or actualized, that a person commissioned another individual to carry out.

Do I Need a Violent Crime Defense Attorney in CA?

You are not required by any state or federal laws to hire a criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been arrested for illegal conduct. However, it’s always advised that you seek the counsel of a qualified defense attorney since they can prevent you from making any mistakes and further hurting your defense. Sometimes, it may feel as though there are piles of evidence against you or that the circumstances are sure to make you appear guilty– but this is not always the case.

Even in instances where a plea bargain seems to be your strongest option, it’s still smart to have a trusted defense lawyer by your side. They can potentially reduce the severity of the charges against you, lessen the harsh criminal penalties, or even get the case dismissed altogether. An educated legal professional will know how to poke holes in the prosecutor’s argument and can point out when there’s not enough proof against you for you to be found guilty under the law.

Besides possessing a deep understanding of the numerous criminal laws, a capable defense lawyer can also investigate the details of your case and the circumstances surrounding the accusation against you, ensuring that no mistakes are made or any important information overlooked. Lawyers often have access to evidence you wouldn’t have alone, such as security footage or certain records.

Potential Penalties for a Violent Crime Conviction

The punishments you may face if convicted of the charges against you will vary. Penalties will vary depending on the specific crime(s), the motive for the crime, the defendant’s criminal record (if any), who the victim is, any aggravating factors such as the use of a firearm, and other details of the case. All factors can solidify or reduce the potential penalties the court may deem appropriate.

Any criminal conviction could potentially result in time spent in jail or prison (ranging from a few days to a life sentence), probation, fines costing thousands of dollars, and other penalties. Certain offenses, like domestic violence cases, are punishable by additional penalties such as loss of custody or possible restitution costs.

Misdemeanor convictions tend to receive less severe punishments than compared to felonies. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, a misdemeanor conviction may result in penalties outside of incarceration, such as rehabilitative education programs, community service, parole, etc.

Defenses for Various Violent Offense Charges in CA

Similar to the potential penalties a defendant might face, the defenses for the charge(s) against them will vary. Which defense strategies your criminal lawyer may use will depend on the crimes you’ve been accused of and the available evidence.

A basic but effective defense strategy is to emphasize a lack of physical evidence in cases where proving the crime ultimately comes down to one person’s word against another’s. Lacking evidence opens room to create reasonable doubt in your guilt, increasing the chance that the judge or jury returns with a not guilty finding.

A common defense in violent crime cases is that you were acting in self-defense, particularly if you were attacked first, only used what force was necessary to repel the attacker’s efforts, and stopped once they fled or were subdued. However, self-defense is not always a logical defense; for example, you typically cannot use a firearm against a person attacking you with just their fists unless there is a reasonable reason for you to fear for your life.

Other common defenses for violent offenses include providing an alibi for your whereabouts during the crime, that you were coerced into committing the crime (whether through threats of violence or other means), and showing evidence that law enforcement did not follow proper procedure during your arrest or when collecting evidence.

Defensive Arguments for Robbery, Homicide, and Gang Crimes

One defense for robbery is that a crime does not meet the legal definition of robbery unless the taken property is on the victim or within the person’s immediate area. This means the robbery could be decreased to aggravated assault or a similar charge if the offender first subdued the victim through threatening violence, tying them up, etc., before leaving the scene to steal property that’s several miles away.

An additional defense may be mistaken identity if the defendant could not be positively identified or wore a mask. One defensive argument against a homicide accusation may be that the killing was accidental, such as the accidental discharge of a firearm. A rarer defense is that by the definition of insanity, you were not fully aware of your actions and whether they were right or wrong.

One defense strategy against gang-affiliated crimes is for your criminal attorney to challenge the accusation that you have any connections to a gang by showing examples of your efforts to distinguish yourself from the gang or that you don’t meet the state’s criteria for gang membership. Additionally, it could be argued that the alleged crime was not committed on behalf of a gang, for their benefit, nor directed at a member of another gang.

What Evidence Is Used in a Criminal Defense Case?

Your attorney in Van Nuys may use many pieces of evidence in their defense argument on your behalf, depending on how the prosecution is presenting their case. Sometimes, there may be little to no evidence, which your lawyer can use in your favor to show the prosecution’s case lacks strength.

Examples of evidence that could be questioned include the police report of the crime and the arresting officer’s testimony. The report may have misleading or inaccurate information, and the officer’s story may contain inconsistencies. If any evidence can establish that the police didn’t carry out the proper procedures during your arrest or their investigation, it’s possible the evidence they collected can no longer be used.

Other evidence your lawyer may use includes:

  • Physical evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints
  • Witness testimonies
  • Photographic evidence, including pictures and security camera footage
  • Testimonies from professionals to dispute prosecution theories

What to Consider When Choosing a Defense Attorney

It’s always a good idea to carefully consider who you’ll choose to represent you in your criminal defense. Doing research and interviewing a few different options can help you choose an experienced attorney who you trust to handle your case. It’s important to seek a defense attorney with experience in managing similar cases, meaning they’re educated in the laws surrounding your specific offenses and can anticipate what the prosecution is likely to argue.

You should also aim to retain a criminal lawyer who makes you feel comfortable, is accessible, and appears responsive. It’s important that you’re able to reach your attorney whenever you may need to, whether to check on the progress of your case or another relevant matter. You will want to have a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable working and communicating while also feeling assured that they are continually working on your case.

Strong and Accomplished Criminal Defense Firm Ready to Represent You

When facing criminal accusations, taking action and speaking with a lawyer about your case promptly is important. The earlier you seek legal counsel, the sooner your attorney can begin to build your defense. The qualified and professional defense lawyers at the Law Offices of James E. Silverstein understand what you’re going through and will work diligently to uphold your rights. Contact us for a consultation with a compassionate, adept criminal defense team about your situation.

Schedule A Free Consultation

Call (747) 230-4468


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