Violent crimes are crimes committed against another person that involve the use of force, weapons and/or violence. Being convicted of a violent crime can result in large fines, loss of freedom and certain constitutional rights. Violent crimes are almost always categorized as felonies by both states and the federal government. As such, once convicted, a person will lose the right to vote and the right to own firearms. A violent crime conviction will affect employment opportunities, the college application process and applications to other associations (such as the Bar). If you are charged with a violent crime, you should seek the help of a criminal defense attorney right away.
Here’s a list of crimes that are most often considered violent crimes by most jurisdictions:
- Domestic Violence: the use of violence or the threat of violence between individuals who are in a relationship, are domicile or in a family unit. Domestic violence can be as severe as aggravated assault, rape or murder, but it also covers pushing, hitting, slapping and other forms of violent actions. Domestic violence does not require a marital relationship, but can happen between people who are dating as well as same sex couples.
- Assault: Assault is an attempt to commit a battery or intentionally placing another person in apprehension of imminent bodily harm. Could be considered aggravated assault if a weapon or firearm is involved.
- Battery: Battery is the unlawful application of force to another person that cause bodily harm to that person or constitute an offense touching. Could be considered aggravated battery if a weapon or firearm is involved.
- Hit and Run: Hit and Run is the illegal departure from the scene of an automobile accident. While a hit and run itself may not be considered a violent crime if no one was injured, causing physical injury to a person and then leaving the scene of the accident may be considered a violent crime. Hit and run charges can be aggravated or enhanced if the perpetrator was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A hit and run can result in a manslaughter charge if someone died as a result.
- Stalking: Stalking is the malicious, intentional, repeat following and/or harasses another person.
- Rape: Rape is the unlawful sexual intercourse with a female against her will by force or threat of immediate force. In most states, the victim of rape can only be a woman. Most states recognize homosexual rape as a crime labeled “sexual assault” rather than rape. A few jurisdictions have changed their rape statute to be gender neutral and thus encompasses all types of rape.
- Robbery: Robbery is larceny (stealing) of personal properties, by force or intimidation. The taking of the personal property must be from the victim’s body or in presence of the victim.
- Murder: There are two degrees of murder, first degree and second degree
- First Degree Murder is the the deliberate and premeditated killing of another human being. In addition, felony murder is often considered as first degree murder.
- Second Degree Murder is the killing with a human being with the necessary malicious intent: the intent to kill, the intent to do great bodily harm or a reckless disregard for life. In addition, murders committed in the course of a felony but does not trigger first degree murder is considered as murder in the second degree.
Crimes that are classified as violent crimes will be more aggressively prosecuted and more harshly punished. Because violent crimes are almost always considered a felony, once convicted, it almost always carries a lengthy incarceration. Consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney early in the process is the best way to ensure that you do not plead to a crime you did not commit and to protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process.