Violent crimes are on the rise in Los Angeles County. Owing to the significant increment of these offenses, you could be among the victims of false accusations. California increased the severity of violent crime punishments significantly because of several violent crime reports. If someone else files a violent crime charge against you, you want to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin builds strong defenses for suspects facing charges for violent crimes. As a law firm with a proven track record, we have helped thousands of clients facing charges, for example, robbery, arson, first-degree murder, mayhem, and many other violent crimes. Regardless of your criminal charges, our lawyers have a deep understanding of California law and the justice system. We will fight on your behalf and ensure that the court doesn’t consider any illegally acquired proof. Examples of violent crimes we handle are detailed below.

California Penal Code Section 215 PC – Carjacking 

You commit carjacking under California PC 215 when you take a car from someone else by using fear or force. California law explains the use of fear or force as issuing threats of harm or using actual physical force. You are convicted for violating Penal Code 215 even though the persons inside the vehicle were not the rightful owners during your crime commission.

Like other violent crimes, carjacking is considered a felony in California. If found guilty, you could serve time in state prison for not more than nine years. Per PC 215(a), the court could enhance your sentencing to a violent felony if you kidnapped somebody, used a firearm, or harmed the plaintiff during the carjacking. You have the right to fight charges against you in court using legal defenses. Examples of defenses are mistaken identity, you had consent, or you never used fear or force.

California Penal Code Section 518 PC – Extortion

California PC 518 explains the crime of extortion. Also called blackmail, extortion occurs when you make another person provide you with money or property, or make public-officer neglect or perform an official duty using threats or force. Under California law, extortion is considered a felony, and you could face lengthy prison sentences if convicted.

Elements the prosecutor must prove in court before your conviction are:

  1. You threatened to harm the victim, file a criminal charge against them, or expose their secrets.
  2. You used fear or force to make the victim give you money or perform an official duty.
  3. The accuser succumbed to your threats and consented to give you money or perform an official act.
  4. The plaintiff complied and gave you property, money, or did an official duty due to your force/ threats.

Extortion, as a violent felony, carries prison sentences of not more than three years. You are instead charged with attempted extortion if your victim did not consent or comply with your demands. California law considers attempted extortion as a wobbler offense. Therefore, the prosecutor can charge you with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Depending on the facts of your case, an experienced defense lawyer can help legal defenses against the charges. Examples of these defenses are lack of evidence, false accusations, and no use of force or threat.

California Penal Code Section 451 PC – Arson

Universally, fires are known to cause massive destruction of property or even death. The destructive nature of fire makes arson a serious crime under California PC 451. Arson involves setting fire to burn any property, forest land, or structure with malicious intent. For example, setting fire to another person’s vehicle to take revenge or intentionally starting a fire in your shop to file for insurance compensation. In

California, arson, is charged as a felony. However, the sentencing hangs on the property, you set fire on, and if anyone incurred burn injuries. If convicted for malicious/ willful arson, you could serve time in state prison for:

  • Five, seven, or nine years if you caused severe physical harm per California Penal Code Section 451(a) PC.
  • Three, five, or eight years if you started a fire in an inhabited property or structure per California Penal Code Section 451(b) PC.
  • Two, four, or six years if you set fire in a forest land per California Penal Code Section 451(c) PC.
  • Sixteen months, two or three years if the personal property was burnt following your arson crime under California Penal Code Section 451(d) PC.

Arson becomes a violent crime if you violate subdivision (a) or (b) of PC 451. You want to hire an experienced criminal attorney when facing arson charges. Your lawyer could help build effective defenses like arson was not the cause of the fire, you had no intent to defraud, or there was no willful act.

California Penal Code Section 187 PC – Murder

According to California PC 187, you commit murder when you unlawfully kill another person or fetus maliciously and with intent. Murder statute state that the killer must have malice aforethought, which means the intent to kill, cause severe harm, or to have a wanton disregard for human life. 

In California, murder has two degrees of severity: first- and second-degree. With first-degree murder, you could go to prison for 25 years or life imprisonment. The prosecution charges you with first-degree murder when your crime:

  • Evokes the felony murder law in California since murder crime is committed together with other felonies.
  • is executed in a conscious, deliberate, and willful manner.
  • Is performed using armor-piercing ammunition, a weapon of mass destruction, a destructive device, torture, or lying in wait.

Second-degree murder involves killing a human being using all other means other than those in first-degree murder. If convicted of second-degree murder, you could serve time in California state prison for fifteen years. With the help of a reputable defense attorney, you could build defenses like:

  • Your killing attracts lesser criminal charges like justifiable homicide, involuntary/ voluntary manslaughter.
  • Yours is a case of mistaken identity.
  • Rogue investigators tampered with forensic evidence.
  • You were forced to confess that you committed murder.
  • You suffer from insanity.

California Penal Code Section 192(a) PC – Voluntary Manslaughter

California PC 192(a) defines the crime of voluntary manslaughter. This crime occurs when you kill someone else in the heat of passion or during an abrupt wrangle. The primary disparity between PC 192 (a) and PC 187 is that there is no malice involved with the former, but the killing happens spontaneously. If convicted for voluntary manslaughter, you could serve time in California state prison for three, six, or eleven years.

California Penal Code Section 203 PC – Mayhem

Per California PC 203, mayhem happens when you illegally or maliciously do acts like:

  • Slicing someone else’s lip, ear, or nose.
  • Gouging out another person’s eye.
  • Slitting someone else’s tongue.
  • Dismembering your victim’s body part.

Like mayhem, aggravated mayhem involves causing irreversible disfigurement or disability to another person per California PC 205. While mayhem is not widely like other violent crimes like torture and murder, it is sentenced severely in California. Under PC 203, mayhem is a felony crime and attracts a prison sentence of two, four, or eight years. You could also pay a fine of not more than $10,000. On the other hand, violation of PC 205 attracts life imprisonment punishment with parole after you serve 85 percent of the prison term. Hire an experienced criminal attorney to help you fight your charges using effective defenses; if the crime was accidental, the plaintiff accused you wrongly or acted to defend yourself from imminent danger.

California Penal Code Section 261 PC – Rape

In California, rape is among the most violent sex offenses. The crime is under California PC 261 and involves using fraud, force, or threats to engage in non-consensual sexual contact with someone else. PC 261 requires that you are not married to the victim for rape to occur. However, if you are married to your victim, you still get charged under California PC 262.

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt certain elements, which include:

  • You used menace, force, coercion, threat, or violence to have sexual intercourse with someone else.
  • The victim did not consent to the sexual contact.
  • You and the plaintiff were not married at the time of the rape.
  • You engaged in sex with someone of the similar or opposite sex.

The prosecution charges you with rape regardless of the penetration extent by a penis or in the vagina. Also, you are accused of rape, if during sex intercourse, the victim changes their mind and objects the acts, but you continue forcibly. Persons who the law suggests that they are unable to give consent are the physically/ mentally challenged, intoxicated, or unconscious victims.

As a violent felony, rape attracts penalties of not over eight years in prison, and an additional term of three to five years in you causes severe physical harm to the victim. You could serve time in jail for eleven years if the victim were below 18 years of age during rape, or 13 years if the victim was below the age of 14.

While rape cases are challenging to defend, you can use various defense strategies with your attorney's help to fight the charges. Your criminal lawyer can raise defenses like:

  • You were under the influence during the alleged offense and cannot remember the exact details leading to the contact.
  • You did not rape the victim. Instead, another person committed the non-consensual sexual act with the plaintiff.
  • The accuser consented to the sexual intercourse.

California Penal Code 207 PC – Kidnapping

Kidnapping per California PC 207 is a violent offense that happens when you detain, arrest, or take someone else and move them to another place using fear or force. The prosecution charges you even if you move your victim to the shortest distance. Also, the prosecution must prove some aspects before the court can find you guilty, and they include:

  • You confined, held, or took someone.
  • You used threats or force to detain the victim.
  • The confinement was against the victims will.

The prosecutions could enhance your kidnapping crime to aggravated kidnapping per California PC 209 if the victim was below the age of 14, inflicted injuries, or caused death to the victim. If found guilty, you could get imprisoned for life with parole after you complete 85% of the sentence. California law allows kidnapping suspects to fight the charges using various legal defenses like:

  • The victim accused you falsely.
  • You did not kidnap the accuser.
  • The prosecution presented insufficient evidence.
  • You did not make the victim move.
  • The plaintiff consented to the movement.

California Penal Code 211 PC – Robbery

The definition of robbery per California PC 211 uses fear or force to take a property in another person's immediate presence and against their consent. Since robbery involves using the threat of harm, force, and fear, California law considers it as a violent felony. Like other violent crimes in California, robbery carries severe prison sentences. The prosecution must prove certain robbery crime elements before the court can convict you. These are:

  • You took items that you don’t own.
  • You took the item from someone else’s immediate possession.
  • The victim did not consent you to take the property.
  • You used threats and force to take someone else’s property.
  • You intended to take the property away from someone else permanently.

The accuser could file robbery charges even if you took the property against the consent and moved it some distance. Penalties for your offense depend on whether you committed a first- of second-degree robbery. You commit the first-degree robbery when you rob a taxi, cable car, or bus occupant, a person coming from an ATM, or someone in an inhabited building. If convicted, you could serve time in prison for three to nine years. If sentenced for a second-degree robbery, you could serve time in jail for two, three, or five years. 

You can fight robbery charges against you like another criminal offense in California. However, to increase your acquittal chances, you need the help of a criminal defense attorney with knowledge of the California justice system. Effective legal defenses you could use are:

  • You never took someone else’s property using force or fear.
  • The plaintiff accused you falsely.
  • A case of mistaken identity.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me

California violent crimes carry severe penalties such as hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences. Whether you have been charged in Beverly Hills or Los Angeles, an excellent defense when facing charges for a violent crime is essential. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we promise to apply our experience and abilities to your allegations. Our attorneys are available 24/7 for a no-obligation discussion about facts surrounding your case. Contact us for legal counsel by calling 310-273-9600 today.