Violent Crimes

VIOLENT CRIMES COUNT AS A “STRIKE”

SERVE 85% OF YOUR JAIL SENTENCE

All Felonies in California carry Low, Mid to High terms for sentencing purposes.

Unlike other Felonies which have 16 months, 2 or 3 years as “Low”, “Mid” or “High” terms”, Serious and Violent Felonies sentences can range from 2-3 years (low term) to 25 years to life (high term).

If convicted of a “Serious and Violent” Felony, you are also facing having to serve 85% of the jail term imposed (not 50% or less for other types of Felonies).

Additionally, “Serious and Violent” Crimes count as a “Strike” under California’s 3 Strike law meaning that if you have 2 prior “serious and violent” Felony convictions (even if unrelated to the new charges against you), you will be sentenced to 25 years to life and serve the sentence in state prison.

Many people charged with a “Serious and Violent” crime have an extensive “rap sheet” (criminal record of convictions) and even those that do not which can result in the maximum term allowed by law.  

Yet, they foolishly “go with a Public Defender” and then waste their money on posting bail to delay the inevitable– lengthy jail time–instead of retaining the best lawyer they can get.

It’s the “End Game” (ultimate sentence imposed) that counts.

Every “Serious and Violent” crime is potentially defensible.  

Depending on the nature of the charge, there are multiple potential defenses, lesser included offenses, DA problems with witnesses/objective evidence, etc. that only a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer can use to your advantage that neither you,  a Public Defender or run-of-the-mill criminal defense “negotiator” would know about. 

Here’s an article (complete with stats) about Public Defender’s if you have not already had a prior case against you handled by them in case you’re thinking of going that route which would be a big mistake.  

Read the article. Read it all.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Whether you are falsely accused (innocent), the DA will not dismiss the charges against you.  Even if the charges against you are true, there may be mitigating circumstances/other factors that can result in a reduced sentence.

Either way, you need a skilled and experienced Trial Attorney like Mr. Karas who knows the law regarding Violent Crimes and all applicable defenses, the rules governing admissibility of evidence, how to confront and cross-examine the victim or other witnesses expected to testify against you to systematically “break down” and exploit every weakness in the DA’s case and fight for you to get the best outcome.  

Contact John Karas Law.

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“Mayhem” is unlawfully or maliciously doing any of the following to another person: 1) depriving him/her of a member of his/her body (such as a limb); 2) disabling, disfiguring or rendering useless a member of his/her body; 3) cutting or disabling his/her tongue; 4) putting out his/her eye; or 5) slitting his/her nose, ear or lip. 

“Aggravated mayhem” is defined in Penal Code 205 PC and consists of intentionally causing someone a permanent disability or disfigurement, or depriving him/her of a limb, organ or member.

Penalties:

Mayhem is a felony, counts as a “Strike” under California’s 3 Strike rule and you are facing a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Accused of Mayhem? Contact John Karas Law.

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“Torture” in California defined as 1) inflicting great bodily injury on another person, 2) with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering, and 3) for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion or any sadistic purpose.

Penalties:

The penalties for torture include: 1) possible life sentence in California state prison and fine of up to $10,000 and 2) counts as a “Strike” under California’s 3 Strike laws.

Accused of Torturing someone? Contact John Karas Law.

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You can be charged with California’s kidnapping laws, found under Penal Code 207, 208, 209 and 209.5 PC, when you 1) move another person, 2) a substantial distance, 3) without that person’s consent, 4)  by using force or fear. “Force or fear” means that you actually inflict physical force upon the alleged victim or that you threaten to inflict imminent physical harm.

“Aggravated kidnapping” is when you move another person and 1) use force, fear or fraud upon a victim who is a child under 14 years of age, 2) accompany the kidnapping with a demand for ransom, 3) cause the victim to suffer serious bodily harm or death, 4) kidnap another person while you are violating Penal Code 215 PC California’s carjacking law, or 5) violate a number of other laws that relate to kidnapping,

Penalties:

Kidnapping is a felony subjecting you to up to 8 years in the California state prison.  

Aggravated kidnapping carries a sentence of 5 years to life in prison.  

Kidnapping is a “Strike” under California’s 3 strikes law and you will serve at least 85% of your sentence before you are eligible for parole.

Accused of Kidnapping? Contact John Karas Law.

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Robbery is the use violence, force or threats to take property from someone’s immediate possession.  Robbery is always charged as a felony. 

Robbery is considered robbery of the 1st degree if it is a 1) robbery of any driver or passenger on a bus, taxi, streetcar, subway, cable car, etc., 2)  robbery that takes place in an inhabited structure, or 3) robbery of any person who has just used an ATM and is still in the vicinity of the ATM.

Penalties:

You are facing jail time ranging between 3 and 6 years for 1st Degree Robbery. Second-degree robbery (commercial structure) jail time is 2, 3 or 5 years in state prison.

Accused of Robbery? Contact John Karas Law.

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If someone uses force or fear to take a vehicle from someone else’s immediate possession, carjacking can be charged.

Penalties:

Carjacking is a felony and you face up to 9 years jail time and more if you injure a victim, use a gun, commit the offense for the benefit of a gang, or kidnap an individual during the carjacking. 

In addition, carjacking is a “Strike” under California’s 3 strikes law, which means that you must serve at least 85% of your sentence before you will be eligible for parole.

Accused of Carjacking? Contact John Karas Law.

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Assault with intent to commit mayhem, rape sodomy, oral copulation, forcible sexual penetration, lewd act with a child, etc.. is a felony.

Penalties:

If you are charged with Penal Code 220, you are facing 2, 4 or 6 years jail time.

However, if the assault was a minor under 18, you are facing 5, 7 or 9 years jail time and if the assault occurred during the commission of 1st degree burglary, you are facing a life sentence in jail.

Accused of Assault? Contact John Karas Law.

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False imprisonment occurs when a person restrains, detains, or confines another person without his/her consent. The crime can be committed with or without force or violence.

Human trafficking is defined as 1) depriving someone of their personal liberty with the intent to obtain forced labor or services from them, 2) depriving someone of their personal liberty with the intent to violate California’s pimping and pandering laws, California’s child pornography laws, California laws against extortion and blackmail or certain other California laws concerning commercial sexual activity and the sexual exploitation of children, or 4) persuading or trying to persuade a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, with the intent to violate one of those same laws.

Penalties:

False imprisonment is a “wobbler” meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If charged as a misdemeanor, you are facing 1 year jail time and a fine of $1,000.  If charged as a felony, you are facing 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail time.

Human trafficking is always a felony in California. If you are convicted of human trafficking in order to obtain forced labor or services, you face 5, 8, or 12 years jail time and a fine of $500,000. If you are convicted of human trafficking in order to commit a crime related to commercial sex, child pornography, or extortion, you face 8, 14 or 20 years jail time and a fine of $500,000 along with the requirement that you register as a sex offender.

If you persuade a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, you are facing 5 to 12 years jail time or a sentence of 15 years to life if you used force, fear, violence, or threat of injury to the alleged victim, a $500,000 fine and required to register as a sex offender.

Accused of False Imprisonment? Contact John Karas Law.

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Penal Code 240 defines an assault as an attempt to commit a violent injury on someone else.  It is often charged at the same time as battery (wilful and unlawful use of force or violence against another person–Penal Code 242).  

Penalties:

Simple assault is a misdemeanor under California law and the penalties in most cases include up to 6 months jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.     

Accused of Assault? Contact John Karas Law.

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The term “battery” conjures up images of severe beatings.  However, you can be found guilty of battery, under California Penal Code 242, even if you didn’t cause the “victim” pain or injury of any kind. All that matters is that you touched him/her in an offensive way. 

If a battery does in fact result in a serious injury, then you may be charged instead with the separate but related crime of battery causing serious bodily injury (Penal Code 243(d)).

Penalties:

Simple battery is a misdemeanor in California and carries penalties of up to 6 months jail time and a fine of up to $2,000.

Accused of Battery? Contact John Karas Law.

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If you are charged with battery against a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or certain other kinds of public servants, and that person suffers any kind of injury, then you may be charged with the more serious crime of battery on a peace/police officer.

Penalties:

This offense is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony but all too often is also charged in conjunction with resisting arrest charges (see separate law section devoted to that topic) .

Battery on a peace or police officer is typically a misdemeanor in California law and you are facing 1 year jail time and a fine of up to $2,000. 

However, if the battery causes an injury requiring medical treatment, then this crime becomes a wobbler (meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a California felony).  If charged as a felony, you are facing jail time ranging from 16 months, 2 or 3 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Accused of Battery on a Police Officer? Contact John Karas Law.

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Assault with a deadly weapon (“ADW”) consists of an assault that is committed either with a “deadly weapon” or by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.

Penalties:

ADW is a “wobbler” meaning t can be charged wither as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

The exact penalties for ADW depend on 1) the type of weapon or instrument used to commit the alleged assault, 2) whether the alleged assault victim sustained an injury, and if so how severe it was, and 3) whether the victim was a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or other protected person. 

If charged as a misdemeanor, you are facing 1 year jail time. The basic sentence for PC 245(a)(1) charged as a felony is 2), 3 or 4 years jail time but it only goes up from there if the weapon used is a firearm (in which case this becomes the crime of assault with a firearm), you are a member of a gang or the victim is a protected person.

Accused of Assault with a Deadly Weapon (ADW)? Contact John Karas Law.

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Any person who discharges a firearm at a dwelling (house) or other occupied building can be charged with this offense which is a felony.  It is also referred to as a “drive-by shooting” and is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony.  

Penalties:

If charged as a misdemeanor, you are facing 6 months to 1 year jail time.  If charged as a felony, you are facing 3, 5 or 7 years jail time.

Accused of Shooting at an Inhabited Building? Contact John Karas Law.

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If you brandish (display) a firearm or other type of deadly weapon (knife for example) in a rude, angry or threatening toward another person (except in self defense), you could be charged with Penal Code 417.

Penalties:

Brandishing a firearm/weapon is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. 

If charged as a misdemeanor during a fight, you face a minimum 30-day county jail sentence. If you exhibiting a firearm under the same circumstances, you are facing 3 to 6 month jail time.

If you are convicted of brandishing a firearm in a public place and the firearm is a pistol, revolver, or other firearm that you are capable of concealing on your body, you face a minimum 3 month to a maximum 1year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.  If brandishing the firearm causes GBI (Great Bodily Injury), you are facing 1 year in jail

If charged as a felony, you are facing 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail time. 

If you are convicted of drawing or exhibiting a firearm (whether loaded or not) in a rude, angry, or threatening manner in the presence of a peace officer who is engaged in the performance of his/her duties, you face either 1) a misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum 9 month jail sentence or 2)  a felony punishable by 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail time.

Accused of Brandishing a Firearm or other Deadly Weapon? Contact John Karas Law.

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Formerly known as the “Terrorist Threat” statute, a “Criminal Threat” is when you threaten to kill or physically harm someone and 1) that person is thereby placed in a state of reasonably sustained fear for his/her safety or for the safety of his/her immediate family, 2) the threat is specific and unequivocal and 3) you communicate the threat verbally, in writing, or via an electronically transmitted device. Criminal threats can be charged whether or not you have the ability to carry out the threat and even if you don’t actually intend to execute the threat.

Penalties:

Penal Code 422 is a “wobbler” meaning that it can be charged either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, you face up to 1 year in a county jail.  

If charged as a felony, you face up to 4 years jail time and actually using a dangerous or deadly weapon increases your sentence by 1 year. A “Criminal Threats” felony conviction is also a “strike” under California’s 3 strikes law and you will serve at least 85% of your sentence before you are eligible for release.

Accused of Making Criminal Threats? Contact John Karas Law.

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California’s hate crime statutes, beginning with Penal Code 422.55 PC, impose severe punishment for harming, threatening or harassing someone because of the person’s 1) disability, 2) gender, 3) nationality, 4) race or ethnicity, 5) religion or 6) sexual orientation.

California’s hate crimes laws have two major parts:

First, Penal Code 422.6 PC makes it a stand-alone crime to interfere with someone else’s civil rights, or damage or destroy their property, because that person has one of the characteristics in the list above. 

Second, Penal Code 422.7 PC and Penal Code 422.75 PC provide that if 1) you commit a crime such as assault or vandalism and 2) you are motivated in part by the fact that the victim has one of the characteristics in the list above, the offense will be considered a “hate crime” and receive an enhanced sentence.

Penalties:

If charged with a simple stand-alone hate crime, you face 1 year jail time, a fine of up to $5,000, and up to four hundred (400) hours of community service. Unlike the criminal offense under Penal Code 422.6 PC, Penal Code 422.7 PC is simply an enhancement (additional penalty) that is imposed whenever you commit a “hate crime” which is a “wobbler” meaning it can be charged either a as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If charged as a felony, you are facing 16 months, 2 or 3 jail time and a fine up to $10,000.

Penal Code 422.75 PC provides for an enhanced sentence for any separate crime that is a felony in California law if you committed a felony hate crime with another person, regardless of whether you personally committed the offense or aided and abetted the other person, you are facing an additional 2, 3 or 4 years jail time.   

The court in most cases will impose a protective order (also known as a restraining order) as part of the terms of your probation, restitution and order you to attend 1 years worth of counseling. 

Finally, you can be charged under multiple Federal statutes for “Hate Crimes” with penalties that are even more severe than in state court and serve time in a Federal Penitentiary.

Accused with a Hate Crime? Contact John Karas Law.

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Arson is setting fire to any building, forest land, or property either 1) willfully and maliciously (this is the crime commonly known as “arson”), or 2) recklessly (this crime is often called “reckless burning” or “reckless arson”). 

You can be charged with arson for setting your own property on fire if 1) the property is a building or other real estate, 2)  you set fire to your personal property for a fraudulent purpose (to commit California insurance fraud, for example) or 3) the fire causes injury to another person or to another person’s home, property, or land.

Penalties:

The punishment for arson charges in California depends on 1) the type of property that was burned, 2) whether or not someone suffered a burn injury and 3) whether you set the fire willfully or only “recklessly.” 

Under Penal Code 452 PC (reckless burning” of personal property) is a misdemeanor and you are facing 1 year jail time.  

However, it becomes a ‘wobbler’ meaning a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony if you burn a building or forest land, or if the fire causes great bodily injury.

Willful and malicious arson is always a felony in California law and you are facing either 16 months, 2 or 3 years or 2, 4 or 6 years jail time depending on the circumstances.  If accompanied by aggravating factors or prior convictions for arson, you are facing substantially increased jail time (10 years to life in state prison).  

Finally, if you commit arson and accidentally kill someone while doing so, you could be charged with Penal Code 187 murder under California’s “Felony-Murder rule.”

Accused of Arson? Contact John Karas Law.

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Illegal destructive devices include things like bombs, grenades, explosive missiles, projectiles containing any kind of explosive or incendiary material, and certain rockets and rocket-propelled projectiles. 

Penal Code 18710 PC is a harsh law because it makes it a crime simply to possess one of these devices.  You don’t need to have had any intention to explode the device or use it in any way.

Penalties:

Simple possession of explosives is a “wobbler” in California law meaning it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Misdemeanor penalties for possession of a bomb/destructive device could include up to 1 year jail time and a fine of up to $1,000. 

If charged as a felony, you are facing 16 months, 2 or 3 years jail time and a fine of up to $10,000.

Accused of Possession of a Destructive or Explosive Device? Contact John Karas Law.

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