Violent crimes can include any assault – including misdemeanor assaults – as well as crimes with serious consequences, such as murder. Violent crimes are generally crimes against persons that include sex offenses, robberies, physical assaults or batteries, homicides of all types (from voluntary manslaughter to robbery).
In everyday language, a violent crime is a crime in which violence is perpetrated upon another person. Usually a violent crime does not include a breaking and entering or burglary, unless people were present during the time of the home invasion.
Violent crimes can be intentional – as in first degree murder – or unplanned, as in a bar fight that begins with a verbal argument and ends with an altercation.
The definition of a violent crime or, more precisely, “crime of violence” has special legal significance. First, in federal law, disclosure of past “crimes of violence” during a proffer is usually not protected, and admission to that type of crime can include use of the statement against the defendant even if the person is giving a “protected” statement.
In immigration law, crimes of violence can result in removal from the country. And in state law, certain kinds of violent felonies can act as aggravating factors that can result in a life sentence upon a subsequent conviction.
Crimes an also fit into multiple categories – or a single act may result in multiple charges, some of which are violent and some of which are not violent. For instance, a home invasion may start off as a breaking and entering and later include an assault or even murder.
Finally, the legal definition of a violent crime can change over time. For years, it was assumed that the North Carolina crime of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling was a crime of violence for purposes of federal law. But, in the wake of an important Supreme Court case in 2015, and in light of a Fourth Circuit decision in Parral-Dominguez, discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling is no longer considered a federal crime of violence in certain respects because it can be committed in a way in which no human being would be endangered.
Assault to Murder
Being charged with a violent crime in North Carolina can have serious consequences, including significant prison time. At the moment a crime occurs or as soon as your are contacted by law enforcement investigating a crime, you need strong and aggressive criminal representation. You need an attorney who won’t back down, has good relationships within the courthouse, and and is a master negotiator. Violent crimes that are not resolved by plea are tried in front of a jury, so you need a lawyer with jury experience.
Violent crimes are classified as:
- Child Abuse
- Murder, among others.
Getting a criminal defense attorney involved as early as possible will ensure that the right steps are taken early in the case. Statements should not be made to police, as those statements can be used against you both in the process of determining what to charge you with as well as in a trial setting. If you haven’t yet been charged, it’s the best time to seek pre-arrest representation, as more can be done to mitigate issues in your case. You have the right not to make statements, so exercise that right.