Violent crimes are crimes that involve serious physical harm or death to another person. Violent crimes have severe consequences, often taking away an accused’s liberty through long prison sentences. They are the most aggressively prosecuted crimes with the strictest punishments. In many cases, a conviction requires a mandatory minimum prison sentence that the court must impose. If you are charged with a violent crime, it is essential that you have the experience of a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side. The attorneys at Arizona Lawyers provide superior criminal defense representation in Phoenix, Mesa, and the surrounding areas.
What Is Considered a Violent Crime?
Violent crimes involve bodily harm to another individual. Such crimes include assault, domestic violence, murder, or other mortal injuries. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney understands the gravity of being charged with a violent crime.
Assault that involves serious physical injury is called aggravated assault. Factors that elevate simple assault to aggravated assault include situations in which a deadly weapon is used, the accused enters another’s home with the intent to assault, the assault occurs against a police officer or other public servant. Aggravated assault is a felony punishable by a minimum of one year in prison.
Domestic Violence as a Violent Crime
Domestic violence is generally defined as an assault occurring between people in specific types of relationships. By statute, domestic violence involves causing a serious physical injury or threatening a serious physical injury to a family or household member, including a person in a romantic relationship or a minor child. Some cases of domestic violence may be charged as a misdemeanor. In more serious cases, or when repeated offenses have been charged, felony charges may be brought, punishable by at least two and a half years in prison. One unique aspect of domestic violence charges is that the accuser cannot request that charges be dropped once they are brought. Regardless, a defendant can often assert self-defense in the face of criminal charges for domestic violence.
Homicide includes crimes resulting in the death of another such as first-degree and second- degree murder. First-degree murder occurs when a person causes the death of another person is the result of an intent to kill another with an opportunity to reflect on the intent–often known as premeditation. Second-degree murder occurs when a person causes the death of another person if the death occurs without the pre-formed intent to kill. Homicide is the most serious violent crime with minimum sentences of ten years for second-degree murder and punishment of death or life imprisonment for first-degree murder.
Manslaughter most commonly occurs when a person recklessly causes the death of another person or commits second-degree murder in the heat of passion–for example killing someone in a blinding rage. The crime of manslaughter recognizes that not all deaths caused by another are intentional, or that even if the death is intentional, it may be the result of a heat of the moment situation in which extreme rage prevailed. Manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of four years in prison but under aggravated circumstances can result in a twelve and a half year sentence.
Negligent homicide occurs when a death results from criminal negligence. Criminal negligence refers to a situation where a person fails to recognize a substantial and unjustifiable risk and such failure results in an undesirable outcome. In the case of negligent homicide, the undesirable outcome is the death of another. One example includes causing a car accident that results in a death while driving under the influence. Negligent homicide carries a minimum sentence of one and a half years in prison
Defending a Violent Crime
Many violent crimes involve the element of intent, meaning the accused meant for the result of the crime to occur or knew that the result would occur. One defense to intent-related crimes is showing the accused did not act with knowledge that the outcome would result. Intent is often the hardest element for the prosecution to prove because it requires showing a defendant’s subjective thoughts. Many criminal charges are dismissed or reduced because the prosecution cannot prove a defendant’s intent. Other defenses to violent crimes relate to the prosecution’s failure to meet all the elements of the crime or a mistake or misunderstanding under the circumstances.
Protect Your Freedom By Contacting an Experienced Violent Crime Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested or are under investigation for a violent crime, your freedom is most likely at stake. When faced with years in prison, you should take every possible step to protect your rights. The attorneys at Arizona Lawyers have over 40 years of combined legal experience both prosecuting and defending those accused of violent crimes. We understand no two criminal cases are alike. With this in mind, a suspect may be cleared with proper representation and an explanation of facts. Your best chance of clearing your name is with the guidance of an attorney experienced in the criminal justice system.
No matter the charges, our highly capable Arizona criminal defense attorneys have what it takes to mount a credible defense to either have your charges reduced or dropped altogether. If necessary, we are also skilled at negotiating plea bargains in your best interest.
When you set up a free consultation with Arizona Lawyers, you get the insight of an experienced trial attorney. Our goal is to listen, assess your situation, and work with you to mount a defense that results in the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Retaining counsel at Arizona Lawyers puts one of Arizona’s top criminal defense firms in your corner, advising you throughout your case. If you are accused of a violent crime, contact Arizona Lawyers to discuss your options today.