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California Laws On Serious and Violent Crimes

Contact The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan, a top Los Angeles violent crime lawyer firm.

If you have been arrested or charged with serious or violent crimes in California, you will need the support of a skilled law firm.

It is important to hire an experienced Los Angeles violent crime lawyer like Mariya Melkonyan as soon as possible to help you navigate the legal system and defend your rights in court.

List of California Strike Offenses

California’s “Three Strikes” law requires a person convicted of any felony to receive double the sentence after one prior conviction. A strike may include all federal convictions, any convictions from other states, and even some juvenile offenses.

The “Third Strike” or the third offense can send you to prison for 25 years. These are some of the violent crimes that constitute “strikes” under this law:

Table of Contents

    Robbery Cases in California

    A robbery charge in California is classified under the serious and violent crimes category. Robbery is defined under PC 211 as the felonious taking of personal property in possession of another, from their person or immediate presence, against their will, and through means of force and fear. One of the most important first steps to take when charged with a serious crime like robbery is to hire an experienced Los Angeles violent crime lawyer like Mariya Melkonyan as soon as possible.

    Force and Fear

    The prosecutor must prove the use of force and fear in a robbery case. To use this element in a case, a prosecutor must first prove the defendant intended to take property before using force and fear.

    The element of force occurs when the defendant uses physical force or a weapon to take property. Punching someone so you can steal their phone is an example of force.

    The element of fear occurs when the defendant makes the victim feel feared or threatened in place of physical force to take property. A criminal handing a threatening note to a bank teller to steal money is an example of this element.

    Immediate Presence

    The prosecutor must also prove the defendant took the property in the immediate presence of the victim. This means the victim would otherwise have possession and control of the property if not faced with force or fear.

    If the property taken was not in the immediate presence of the victim, the prosecutor cannot charge the perpetrator with robbery.

    First and Second-Degree Robbery

    California separates robbery into two degrees depending on the circumstance of the crime. First-degree robbery occurs when a person is robbed during the following circumstances:

    • The person is driving or a passenger in a vehicle
    • While a person is inside an inhabited structure
    • While a person is using or finished using an ATM

    Punishments for first-degree robbery include 3, 6, or 9 years in state prison. Don’t wait, contact Mariya Melkonyan, a top Los Angeles violent crime lawyer the moment you’ve been charged.

    Second-Degree Robbery

    All other robbery cases that do not meet the criteria for first-degree robbery are charged under second-degree robbery. Second-degree robbery charges are punishable with 2, 3, or 5 years in state prison.

    Armed Robbery

    Committing robbery with a weapon brings additional charges. Defendants convicted of robbery while armed with a gun face penalties under California’s 10-20-life gun laws. These penalties include:

    • 10 years for using a gun during a robbery
    • 20 years if the firearm is discharged during the robbery
    • An additional 25 to life sentence for using a firearm during a robbery that resulted in serious injury or death of a victim

    Multiple Counts of Robbery

    You can be charged with multiple counts of robbery only if more than one act of theft occurs or you commit one act of robbery from multiple victims.

    Burglary Cases

    Under California law, burglaries fall under the category of serious and violent crimes. You can be charged with burglary if you enter a building, vehicle, cargo container, warehouse, tent, and other structures with an intent to steal or commit another felony.

    To be convicted, prosecutors must prove you entered the building with the intention of committing a felony.

    Penalties for burglary vary depending on the charges. Charges of first-degree burglary require that the defendant enters a person’s residence to commit a felony. Burglaries that occur in commercial structures are charged as second-degree burglary.

    First-degree burglary brings penalties of up to 6 years in state prison and a strike on your record. You will have to serve 85% of your sentence when charged with first-degree burglary regardless of good behavior.

    If first-degree burglary is committed while someone is in the home, additional enhancements will apply for a longer prison sentence. Second-degree burglary convictions result in up to 1 year of imprisonment in county jail.

    Don’t wait, if you’re charged with a burglary case, contact top Los Angeles violent crime lawyer Mariya Melkonyan. Her team can evaluate your case and prepare a sound defense strategy. (424) 901-3131

    Assault and Battery Charges

    In California, assault is any unlawful attempt with the ability to commit a violent injury of another person. Assault is sometimes confused with battery, which is a separate crime. Battery is the use of unlawful force or violence on another person.

    Assault includes any actions you take leading up to a battery. For example, pointing a gun at someone you’re arguing with to make them feel threatened is an assault.

    Battery occurs during unwanted contact. Intentionally shoving, tripping, or punching someone using your body or object are all examples of battery.

    An assault can take place on its own, but battery occurs after an assault takes place. The threat and ability to cause bodily harm is assault. Battery is the act of causing harm, and both are considered serious and violent crimes in California.

    To be convicted of assault, prosecutors must prove:

    • You acted willfully and with the knowledge that physical force could be used
    • You were aware the other party believed you would use force against them
    • You could use force

    Assault and battery carry different penalties. If convicted of assault, you face a fine of up to $1,000, up to 6 months in county jail, or a combination of the two. Battery convictions are steeper, with fines up to $2,000. A battery conviction may also bring up to 6 months in county jail.

    Assault With a Deadly Weapon

    Needless to say, assault with a deadly weapon is a prime example of serious and violent crimes offense. Using a deadly weapon like a firearm or other instrument during the act of assault brings charges of assault with a deadly weapon. If you’re convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, you face serious penalties, including 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000.

    If you commit assault with a semiautomatic firearm, you face up to 9 years in state prison. After conviction, the court will confiscate any weapon you owned that was used in the commission of the crime. Don’t wait or spend time researching options online, immediately contact one of the best – Mariya Melkonyan, a Los Angeles violent crime lawyer. Her team can evaluate your case and prepare a sound defense strategy.


    Kidnapping, by law, is defined as moving someone a significant distance against their will, by force or use of fear, and is classified in the category of serious and violent crimes in California, kidnapping is a punishable felony offense under PC §207(a), with conviction resulting in up to 8 years in state prison.

    If your kidnapping crime involves:

    • A child under 14
    • A demand for ransom
    • Causing serious bodily harm or death to the victim
    • Kidnapping as part of a carjacking
    • Another violent crime

    You can be charged with aggravated kidnapping which is an elevated felony offense, punishable by life in prison. If you’ve been charged with kidnapping, contact Mariya Melkonyan, a top Los Angeles violent crime lawyer. Her team can evaluate your case and prepare a sound defense strategy.


    California defines murder in PC 187 as the unlawful killing of another human being with malice. You can be charged with first or second-degree murder or manslaughter if you’re involved in someone’s death.

    First-degree murder includes all premeditated killings and felony murder charges when a death occurs during an armed robbery, rape, or carjacking. Punishments for first-degree murder are 25 years to life in prison.

    You may face life in prison with no parole or capital punishment if the killing involved special circumstances like torture, lying in wait, or using destructive devices.

    Second-degree murder charges are brought for all other cases of murder without the involvement of premeditation. This charge carries a prison sentence of 15 years to life.

    Manslaughter is defined by California PC 192 as a less serious form of homicide. Manslaughter charges are separated into two categories: voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter includes unplanned, heat-of-the-moment killing with penalties of up to 11 years in prison.

    Involuntary manslaughter is charged when there is a conscious disregard for life that results in an unintended death. Punishment for involuntary manslaughter is up to 4 years in prison.

    Vehicular manslaughter is the unintentional killing of a person in a vehicle accident. This is a wobbler offense, meaning the prosecutor has the discretion to charge it as a felony or misdemeanor.

    The circumstance of the accident and the criminal history of the defendant contributed to the prosecutor’s decision. Under PC 191 felony vehicular manslaughter carries a sentence of 2 to 10 years in prison while misdemeanor charges result in up to one year in jail.

    We don’t need to tell you that all forms of murder are considered serious and violent crimes. If you’ve been charged with such crimes, the first thing to do is to hire an experienced attorney to defend you and to not speak with the police without your legal team in the same room.

    Attempted Murder

    Attempted murder is also a serious offense in California, and is prosecuted as violent under California’s Three-Strikes Law. Attempted crimes are governed by PC 664, which indicates that if the conviction of the crime that you attempted is punishable by time in state prison.

    You can serve up to half the available prison sentence for the attempt. For more information on murder and attempted murder charges in California, refer to our homicide page.

    Los Angeles Violent Crime Lawyer – Mariya Melkonyan

    If you or a loved one is charged with serious and violent crimes, the sooner an experienced attorney can get involved in your case, the better chances you have for the best possible outcome. Contact Mariya Melkonyan, a top Los Angeles violent crime lawyer. Mariya can help you through the process, create a solid defense strategy, and fight for you in court.

    Our firm knows how important it is to build a defense strategy as quickly as possible. We want to help you minimize the impact of these charges in your life. Contact us today for a free consultation.

    los angeles violent crime lawyer - Mariya Melkonyan

    Frequently Asked Questions

    If you’re charged with battery, you’re likely also charged with assault. Assault is the charge of threatening someone with physical harm.

    No physical contact is necessary to be accused of assault. Battery is the act of bodily harm after you’ve threatened them.

    Robbery and burglary are separate crimes. Robbery requires a person-to-person confrontation using force or fear to take property.

    A burglary happens without personal interaction any time a criminal enters a structure with the intent to steal.

    You can still be charged with assault with a deadly weapon as long as you used force that resulted in a bodily injury.

    If you punched or kicked someone in the head or neck, this could lead to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon because of the serious nature of the resulting injury.

    Under PC 26100, the prosecution must prove you knew your passenger had a gun for you to be convicted.

    An experienced defense attorney can develop a legal strategy to prove that you had no prior knowledge of the gun before the incident. Contact Mariya Melkonyan, a top Los Angeles violent crime lawyer.

    Serious & Violent Crimes Defense Law Firm

    Serious and violent crimes can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. What you do immediately after you’re charged can have a big impact on your case. That’s why it’s important to contact Mariya Melkonyan, a top Los Angeles violent crime attorney for your case.

    At The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan, we always have our client’s best interest at heart. From the moment you contact us for a consultation, we start planning solid defenses for your case. Most clients feel ashamed, frustrated, and angry after being charged with a violent crime, but our legal team is here to reiterate that you, as a citizen, have basic rights, one of which is to hire an attorney.

    Before you speak to authorities, remember that you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Mariya Melkonyan is a former prosecutor who has tirelessly fought countless serious and violent crimes and can apply those same skill sets in your case.

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