If you are arrested for a violent crime, be it misdemeanor assault, spousal battery, or even manslaughter, rape or murder, you need an experienced violent crimes defense attorney. Having a strong legal defense team can make all the difference. Criminal defense law is complicated and you need an experienced team like Manzuri Law on your side.
California law defines the following as violent crimes:
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Battery on a Peace Officer
- Criminal Threats
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Manslaughter – Involuntary
- Manslaughter – Voluntary
- Weapons Charges
California Penal Code 451 and 452 PC embody California's arson laws. These laws make it a crime if someone willfully and maliciously (or even recklessly) sets fire to any building, forest land, or property, other than one's own property.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
California Penal Code 245(a)(1) defines assault with a deadly weapon as an assault that is committed with any kind of weapon that could be deadly or by means of force that is likely to cause great bodily harm to another.
“Assault” is defined in California Penal Code 240 PC as an unlawful attempt, combined with the ability, to cause violent injury to another person.
According to California Penal Code PC 242, battery is when you willfully and unlawfully use force or violence against another person. You can be convicted of battery even if you didn't harm or injure the other person, as long as you made some kind of unwanted physical contact.
Battery on a Peace Officer
California battery law prohibits the willful and unlawful use of force or violence against another person. When that force or violence is used against certain individuals, namely police officers and firefighters, there are stricter penalties.
California's carjacking law — Penal Code 215 PC — says it's a serious crime to take a car from another person by means of force or fear. “Force or fear” means that either you actually inflict physical force upon the alleged victim or that you threaten to inflict imminent physical harm.
California Penal Code 422 PC defines the crime of “criminal threats” as 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 or her safety or for the safety of his or her family, 2) the threat is specific and unequivocal and 3) you communicate the threat verbally, in writing, or with an electronic device. You can be charged with making a criminal threat even if you do not have the ability — or the intention — to carry out the threat.
California Penal Code 243(e)(1)
Domestic Battery or Spousal Battery — is battery committed upon a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, parent of one's child, fiancé, or anyone with whom the defendant has (or previously had) a dating relationship. This is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to one year of county jail. This law is similar to Penal Code 273.5, except that it does not require creating a “traumatic condition,” in other words, the prosecutor need not show a visible injury to the victim.
California Penal Code 273.5
…is the infliction of bodily injury on a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant, or the mother or father of one's child, creating a “traumatic condition.” This charge can be filed either as a felony or a misdemeanor.
California Penal Code 273 d
Child Abuse or Corporal Injury on a Child — is the willful infliction of cruel or inhuman punishment upon a child, resulting in a traumatic condition (a visible injury). This offense can be either a misdemeanor or a felony and the penalty can be up to 6 years in state prison.
“Kidnapping” is defined as “moving a victim a considerable distance, using force or fear to do so.”
You violate California's kidnapping laws, found under Penal Codes 207, 208, 209 and 209.5 PC, when you: 1) move another person 2) over a considerable distance 3) without that person's consent 3) using force or fear.
“Force or fear” means: 1) that you actually inflict physical force upon the alleged victim, or 2) that you threaten to inflict imminent physical harm.
California Penal Code 273a
Child Endangerment or Willful Harm to a Child — innumerates a series of offenses known to place a child in danger. Among the kinds of conduct that can lead to being charged with child endangerment are:
- Willfully causing or allowing a minor to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering
- Willfully allowing a minor in one's custody to have his or her person or health injured
- Willfully allowing a minor in one's custody to have his or her health or safety endangered
Penal Code 210.5 PC is the California law that prohibits false imprisonment of a hostage to avoid being captured. This is sometimes referred to as “false imprisonment to protect against arrest.” You violate this law if you 1) falsely imprison another person to avoid arrest, and/or 2) use another person as a “human shield,” dramatically increasing the risk of harm to that person.
This encompasses being charged with violation of one of the many firearms and concealed weapons laws that are on the books in California.
California's voluntary manslaughter laws apply to killings that are committed 1) during a sudden quarrel, or 2) in the heat of passion. Prosecutors rarely file Penal Code 192 (a) — Voluntary Manslaughter — as a separate charge. This offense most often comes up in a murder case in which the defendant admits to killing the victim, but seeks to have the charge reduced from murder to manslaughter. If the charge is reduced to manslaughter, the accused faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison. With murder, he faces a potential life sentence — or even the death penalty.
California Penal Code 192(b) PC defines “involuntary manslaughter” as an unlawful killing that takes place 1) during the commission of an unlawful act (not amounting to a felony) or 2) while committing a lawful act which involves a high risk of death or great bodily harm that is committed without due caution or restraint. Involuntary manslaughter differs from Penal Code 187 PC (murder) in that it involves an unintentional death. Involuntary manslaughter does not apply to acts that you commit while driving a car (those are covered by California's vehicular manslaughter laws).
Aggravated Kidnapping is if 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. Aggravated kidnapping is a more serious charge; a conviction for this carries life in prison.
Penal Code 646.9. defines stalking as “repeatedly following, harassing and/or threatening another person to the point where that individual fears for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family.” California stalking laws are considered to be among the toughest and most comprehensive in the nation. Some examples of behavior that might lead to being charged with stalking include:
- sending frequent emails to an ex-girlfriend threatening to make her life “a living hell,”
- following a coworker home from work every night while also occasionally making menacing statements to him in the office, and
- frequently sending flowers to an acquaintance, accompanied by notes saying that she had better agree to go out on a date with the sender “or else.”
California Penal Code 187 (a) PC defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought.” Although this definition seems quite straightforward, there are some terms that warrant further explanation:
A “homicide” refers to the killing of another person, whether lawful or unlawful. Therefore, a homicide includes murder and manslaughter, as well as justifiable killings. “Murder” is the most aggravated kind of homicide. It is always unlawful. What distinguishes murder from manslaughter in California law is the fact that malice is necessarily involved in a murder.
“The mental state constituting malice aforethought does not presuppose or require any ill will or hatred of the particular victim. When a person ‘with wanton disregard for human life, does an act where there is a high degree of probability that it will result in someone's death,' that person acts with malice aforethought.”
Under California murder law, Penal Code 187, 1) malice may be “express” or “implied.”
Express malice means that you specifically intend to kill the victim. Malice is implied when: 1) the killing was the result of an intentional act, 2) the natural consequences of the act are dangerous to human life and 3) the act was deliberately performed with knowledge of the danger and with a conscious disregard for human life. First- and second-degree murder both require the presence of malice.
1.1. First-degree murder in California law
Under California law, there are three ways to be convicted of first-degree murder:
- by committing the murder
- using a destructive device or explosives, a “weapon of mass destruction,” ammunition primarily designed to penetrate armor or metal, or by poison, or
- by inflicting torture pursuant to Penal Code 206 PC California's torture law or by lying in wait for a victim,
- by killing in a way that is deliberate, willful and premeditated or
- by way of the felony-murder rule (that is, by committing a specifically enumerated felony that automatically turns any logically related death into first-degree murder).
Examples of first-degree murder include (but are not limited to):
- going to someone's house with the intent of killing him or her,
- lying in wait for a person to return to his or her car in order to kill that individual and
- a murder that is committed using a destructive device or explosive.
California's robbery law, Penal Code 211 PC, defines the crime of robbery as taking someone else's property from the person's body or immediate area of possession using force or instilling fear. Robbery is always a felony and is punishable by a sentence of 2 to 9 years in state prison
Let The Experienced Violent Crimes Attorneys at Manzuri Law Defend Your Case With Compassion
No one denies that violent crime is an epidemic in our society. California leads the nation in imposing harsh sentences for violent offenders. Yet countless innocent people get convictedof violent offenses. The reasons are many: mistaken identification, untruthful witnesses, fabricated evidence, sloppy police work, racism, overzealous prosecutors, and legitimate self-defense.
This is where we come in.
We defend clients in violent crime cases throughout the greater areas of Los Angeles, San Fernando, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Riverside and San Bernardino. We have extensive experience defending cases ranging from misdemeanor assault to spousal battery to manslaughter and murder charges.
Our background provides us a unique insight into how criminal cases are put together by law enforcement. Knowing how the police build assault and murder cases allows our lawyers to hone in on the issues and weaknesses in the evidence that can be used to exonerate out clients.
If you or a family member has been accused of or arrested for a battery, weapon or murder charge, we urge you to contact our experienced violent crimes attorney to discuss the case and how we might be able to help.