When it comes to prosecuting criminal cases and legislating criminal laws, violent crime felonies have gone to the stop of the list as far as priority. Judges, prosecutors, the legislature, the police, all have violent felonies on their number one list of putting money into, creating task forces and making sure that violent criminals are sent to prison for as long as possible. Violent felonies are listed under California Penal Code Section 667.5.
So, if you're charged with a violent felony, you had better find a criminal defense attorney that has dealt with these type of cases before, knows how to defend them and knows how to mitigate them if necessary.
What Qualifies as a Violent Felony?
What qualifies as a violent felony is a very broad topic. In other words, for example, if somebody causes great bodily injury to another person, that allegation, if proved or admitted, would cause the underlying crime to become a violent felony and the person would be subject to the punishments that come along with violent felonies.
Great bodily injury can be caused by a serious injury like a broken bone, some sort of a tear, a laceration. There's a whole bunch of different ways.
I talk about these cases all the time with clients, judges, prosecutors. I argue them and sometimes it's real clear to see that something is great bodily injury and other times it's debatable and the defense has to argue against it.
Other areas where violent felony-type punishments are applicable have to do with violent crimes, like crimes that involve inflicting violence against another person, attempted murder, murder cases, rape cases.
There's a whole list of violent felonies that can be found in the Penal Code and your attorney is in the best position in order to explain to you whether your case falls under the violent felony auspices or whether it's not a violent felony.
Punishments For Violent Felonies In Los Angeles County
When somebody is charged and convicted of a violent felony in Los Angeles, they will serve 85% of whatever their sentence is. Also, all violent felonies under the right category are considered strikes in Los Angeles County.
Therefore, if somebody is convicted of a violent felony and then later on they get convicted of another felony, it can be a second-strike case causing their sentence to be doubled and have them serve any time that they serve in either the county jail or state prison at 85%.
This 85% is not flexible and obviously, these are the type of crimes nobody wants to get convicted of because having to serve 85% of your time is horrible, and usually the time attached to violent felonies is significant, and it's usually not county jail, it's prison.
So, when it comes to negotiating and fighting violent felony-type cases, I really am fighting for my clients not to be convicted of a violent felony because of all of the horrible ramifications that come along with these type of convictions.
Strategies In Order To Mitigate Violent Felonies
A lot of times people have no criminal record and are charged with a violent felony, and if the defense can show that there's some special circumstances that exist, then a lot of times I'm able to avoid a violent felony conviction and get a conviction for something that is not considered a violent felony.
If we're able to do this, then the person is not subject to the 85% sentencing, usually not looking at some long prison sentence, and is in a much better position. The way that we mitigate these violent felony cases is, is that we obviously get character letters from friends, family and people for know the defendant.
We're obviously are going to look at the facts of the particular case and try to distinguish them from violent felony-type cases where people are getting convicted and doing the 85%. In other words, if we could show this is a different case – this is not the standard robbery case, this is not the standard attempted murder case.
Then a lot of times judges and prosecutors will consider allowing the defendant to plead to a different type charge.
So, there's a number of different ways to mitigate it. Of course, you're not going to use the same thing in every single case. This is why I sit down with the client, I get all the facts and circumstances about the crime.
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I get everything about their life, who they are, you know, their friends, their family, their job, all the good things that they've done in the life, and we try to put that together into a package for the judge and prosecutor and then it's up to me to get in there and sell it and show them that this person doesn't deserve to go to prison for long time – doesn't deserve the 85% sentencing.
So, there's a lot of things that we can do when it comes to strategies to mitigate violent felonies, but the number one key thing is to sit down, go over your story, be honest, be straight forward, let me know exactly what happened and then I will help educate you.
I will help come up with the plan that will get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible and set you up for success. And I can come up with a plan to win the case that must be won – the case that is questionable from the prosecutor's standpoint.
We're going to get all the facts and circumstances, we're going to do an investigation, we're going to use experts, and we will get you the result that you must have. Contact the Hedding Law Firm to review your case.
For more information on Violent Felonies In LA County, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979today.