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Violent and Weapons Crimes Defense in California

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

The Most Common Defense For Violent Crimes In California


If you have been arrested for a violent crime or are the subject of a federal violent crime investigation, you will need the legal assistance of an experienced California Criminal Defense Attorney to offer the best possible defense and increase your prospects of a good resolution in your case.


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Murder, manslaughter, assault and battery are among the most regularly prosecuted crimes in the United States. When these crimes are prosecuted as federal felonies, the penalties connected with a conviction can be severe, culminating in years in prison, a life sentence, or even the death penalty in the most extreme cases.


When you are charged with a state crime, your case will be prosecuted in state court; but, if you are charged with a federal crime, it is because you broke federal law, and your case will be prosecuted in federal court by a federal prosecutor representing the United States Attorney's office.


The federal court system operates under a different set of rules and processes than state courts, so be sure you have a CA Criminal Defense Attorney on your side who is licensed and prepared to face federal court challenges. Federal charges often carry bigger penalties and longer sentences than state-level charges, with the potential for life in federal prison or even the death penalty; thus, the stakes in a federal criminal prosecution are quite high.


Different Types of Violent Crimes


Any criminal act that is inherently violent, meaning the party accused of committing a crime used or attempted to use force against the alleged victim, is classified as a violent crime. Section 16 of Title 18 of the United States Code defines a "crime of violence" as follows:


an offense involving the use, attempted use, or threat of using physical force against another person or property.


Any other felony offense that, by its nature, has a considerable risk of using physical force against another person or property in the course of perpetrating the offense.


The following are some examples of violent offenses that can be prosecuted in federal court:

  • Murder - The intentional and criminal murder of a human person.

  • Manslaughter - Without malice, the unlawful death of a human being

  • Assault - An act or threat of violence on another individual.

  • Aggravated assault - An attack or attempted attack with a weapon, or an attack without a weapon, on another person that ends in significant bodily injury.

  • Sexual assault - Performing a sexual act on another individual without their permission

  • Rape - Sexual intercourse is induced by physical or psychological coercion.

  • Kidnapping (Abduction) - The illegal removal of a person from one location to another against their will.

  • Offenses involving weapons - Crimes involving the use of a firearm in an unauthorized manner

  • Homicide crimes - The unlawful killing of another person. Homicide is usually the result of other circumstances and can be charged regardless of the defendant's intent.

  • Armed robbery - Taking or attempting to take something of value with the use of force or threat of force or by putting the victim in dread of his or her life.


What Constitutes a Federal Offense for a Violent Crime?


State courts handle most violent crimes in Los Angeles. Still, in some circumstances, such as those involving organized crime, kidnappings, mass killings, serial killings, or sniper murders, federal authorities may become involved.


Gang violence, hate crimes, terrorist activity, and violent crimes against minors may all result in federal action and prosecution, according to the FBI, which continues to play a significant role in combating violent crime in large cities and local towns across the United States.


Furthermore, you can be charged with a federal offense if you are accused of breaking federal law, committing crimes on federal property, or committing a crime that crosses state lines.


Violent Crimes Prosecution


Any violent crime is serious, but those prosecuted at the federal level are even more so, and anyone charged with a violent offense in federal court will almost certainly face harsh punishment under federal sentencing guidelines. This is because violent crimes are often regarded as morally reprehensible crimes deserving of the most severe penalty, and the stakes are higher than ever when a person is suspected of committing a violent crime in violation of federal law.


If you are facing charges in federal court, a conviction for a violent crime can result in years in prison, a life sentence, or even the death penalty, depending on your prior history and the severity of the charges against you.


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Violent crimes are frequently linked to drug and weapons offenses, such as drug possession, transportation, manufacturing, or distribution, as well as firearms and other dangerous weapons, and if you are charged with several criminal activities of this nature, you may face harsher punishments if convicted. Individuals charged with weapons-related offenses may be liable to confiscation of any money or assets involved with the criminal behavior they are accused of undertaking, in addition to suffering serious criminal penalties. Anyone sentenced to a violent offense charge in federal court has a lifelong criminal record that would show up on every background check conducted by a future employer or landlord.


Defending People Charged with Violent Crimes


Charges of a violent crime put your liberty and reputation in jeopardy, but it's vital to know that being suspected of a violent crime does not always imply you'll be proven guilty and sentenced to prison. When it comes to prosecuting violent crimes in federal court, federal prosecutors have the whole might of the government on their side, as well as access to practically limitless resources to obtain convictions and impose harsh penalties on offenders. Even in the most extreme cases of violent crime, the prosecution bears the burden of proof, which means that the government can only prove its case and obtain a conviction if it can prove all of the offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you are suspected of murdering someone in violation of federal law, the government can only convict you if it can show that you did so with "malice aforethought," which is one of the most significant parts of a murder accusation. The intent to kill or inflict injury is known as malice aforethought, and if the prosecution is unable to prove this element, you cannot be found guilty of murder.

In Los Angeles, violent crimes such as assault, battery, and weapons violations are not uncommon, but far too frequently, violent crime accusations are based on circumstantial evidence and shoddy investigative procedures, resulting in innocent people being charged with major crimes they did not commit. And as a result of the federal government's excessive prosecution, many of these individuals are falsely convicted and sentenced to years or lives in prison, or, if the prosecution seeks the death penalty, to death.


Being charged with a federal crime can be terrifying scary, and it's natural to believe the prosecution's case against you is unbeatable. However, your L.A. Criminal Defense Attorney can always utilize a defense strategy to contest the prosecution's evidence or reduce the implications of a conviction. For a murder case, the following are some possible defense strategies:

  • You were acting in self-defense or protecting someone else.

  • The claimed victim made a false accusation against you.

  • You've been duped into thinking you're someone else.

  • You had no intention of injuring or killing the other individual.

  • An accident resulted in the death of the victim.

  • The prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The evidence used against you by the prosecution was collected through an illegal search of your home.

When you are charged with a federal violent crime, such as murder or a weapons offense, you must do all possible to ensure your success from the start, including hiring a California Criminal Attorney with a track record of successfully defending clients with violent crimes in federal court.


You have the right to a Defense Attorney under the United States Constitution, and there is no substitute for talent, confidence, and years of practical experience in picking the finest possible attorney to defend your defense in a federal violent crime case.


Our prescreened California Criminal Defense Attorneys are dedicated to providing clients with high-quality legal counsel and individualized service, and they will work relentlessly to ensure that you understand the charges against you, your legal rights and alternatives, and what to expect from the federal court process.


Charges of Murder and Homicide


State and federal laws punish criminal homicide more severely than nearly any other crime, and you could be prosecuted with a federal offense if you are suspected of manslaughter or murder in violation of federal law. A federal criminal charge of murder or manslaughter can result in a possible life term, severe fines and other punishments, and the death penalty in the most egregious cases. Our prescreened California Criminal Defense Lawyers understand the damage that federal murder and homicide accusations can cause for defendants and their families, and they fight these cases to the finish. There is no time to spend if you have been charged with criminal homicide.

Murder and manslaughter cases are usually high-profile, emotional cases and federal prosecutors are under a lot of pressure to make progress in their federal investigation of criminal murder acts so that criminals can be brought to justice and the public can have some peace of mind. Unfortunately, because of this, it is very uncommon for overzealous federal prosecutors seeking to solve a killing to indict and convict innocent people for manslaughter or murder.

You need a defense counsel with vast expertise representing clients in federal court to safeguard your legal rights and prevent a criminal conviction for murder or manslaughter. There is no substitute for experience, devotion, and years of expertise in protecting yourself against federal murder or manslaughter allegations, and that is exactly what Defense Lawyers can help you with.


In any federal criminal case, especially manslaughter and murder cases, the stakes are exceedingly high, and the last thing you want to do is put your life in the hands of a California Criminal Defense Attorney who has never tried a case in federal court. When you are charged with a federal crime, such as murder, your future, freedom, and life are on the line, and unless you have the assistance of a Los Angeles Criminal Attorney who is fully equipped to confront the particular problems of federal criminal defense, you might be convicted of a major federal felony.


What is the Definition of Homicide?


Homicide is a legal term that refers to any act of killing a person by another person. Not all homicides are against the law. For example, killing in self-defense or the lawful killing of a suspect by the police could be deemed non-criminal killing. An illegal homicide, on the other hand, is the killing of another person without their consent. There are various forms of illegal killings, such as murder and manslaughter, as well as varying degrees of each offense.


What is the Definition of Murder?


Murder is defined by federal law (18 USC 1111) as "the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought." "Every arson, escape, murder, kidnapping, treason, espionage, sabotage, aggravated sexual abuse or sexual abuse, child abuse, burglary, or robbery; or perpetrated or attempted to perpetrate, any arson, evasion, murder, abduction, treason, spying, sabotage, aggravated sexual assault or sexual abuse, child abuse, burglary, or robbery.


What is the Definition of Manslaughter?


Manslaughter, on the other hand, is defined as "the unlawful killing of a human being without malice" under 18 USC 1112. In federal court, there are two types of manslaughter charges: voluntary manslaughter, which occurs when a sudden dispute or heat of passion," and involuntary manslaughter, which occurs in committing of an illegal act not equal to a felony or in committing it in an illegal way (or without due caution and circumspection) of a felony.


What Constitutes a Federal Crime of Murder or Manslaughter?


In California, state prosecutors handle most murder and manslaughter cases, but in some situations, these offenses are tried in federal court. The following are some of the scenarios in which a homicide can be charged as a federal crime:

  • Murder of a Federally Elected or Appointed Official (18 USC 351, 1751)

  • Murder of a Federal Prosecutor or Law Enforcement (18 USC 1114)

  • A homicide committed with the intent of influencing the outcome of a court case (18 USC 1512)

  • Killing of a Law Enforcement Official's Immediate Family Member (18 U.S.C. 115(b)(3))

  • A homicide committed in the course of a bank robbery (18 USC 1111)

  • Murder on the High Seas (18 USC 2280)

  • Murders Caused by Drugs (18 USC 36, 924(i))

  • Murder in Connection with Rape, Child Molestation, and Child Sexual Exploitation (18 USC 2248, 2251)

  • Contract Killing (18 USC 1958)


Penalties


Crimes involving the unlawful killing of another person are considered morally reprehensible, and the federal government reserves the most severe penalties for cases of murder and manslaughter. Second-degree murder, for example, carries a maximum term of life in prison, whereas first-degree murder carries either a life sentence or the death penalty.


If you are convicted of voluntary manslaughter, you might face up to 15 years in jail, and if you are convicted of involuntary manslaughter, you may face up to 8 years in prison. Even attempting to commit attempted murder can be charged as a federal offense under 18 USC 1113, with a maximum term of 20 years in prison or seven years in prison, respectively. Conspiracy to commit murder (18 USC 1117) is a separate crime that carries a maximum punishment of life in federal prison.


Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.


Defending a homicide case in federal court


Numerous activities might result in criminal homicide charges. The law can be complicated because of the multiple degrees of murder and manslaughter laid forth by Title 18 of the United States Code. The element of "malice aforethought," also known as premeditation, which is defined as the purpose of killing or do injury, is the key distinction between murder and manslaughter offenses, and it is this element that the prosecution must prove to obtain a murder conviction in federal court.


On the other hand, manslaughter, whether voluntary or involuntary, lacks the element of malice aforethought. The defendant is deemed innocent until proven guilty in any criminal homicide prosecution, and the burden of proving in a federal murder or manslaughter conviction is "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is an exceedingly high standard of proof, and you cannot be legitimately convicted of a crime if the federal prosecutor designated to your case cannot show your guilt to the point where there is no other logical explanation for the evidence.


Possible Defense Strategies in Murder and Manslaughter Cases


Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious federal crimes you may be accused of, and even allegations of these crimes can have life-altering effects on your personal and professional life. If you are charged with criminal homicide in federal court, your odds of acquittal may be small to none, but this is not the case. Suppose you act immediately to obtain a California Criminal Defense Attorney who can advise you on the best possible defense strategy based on your individual case. In that case, there is always a defense to federal murder or manslaughter accusations. Some probable defenses to criminal homicide allegations include:

  • Self-defense or someone else's defense

Because you reasonably felt you were in imminent danger of being killed, suffering serious bodily injury, or being the victim of another violent or coercive crime, you acted in self-defense or defense of another person.

  • Accidental death

At the time of the killing, you did not intend to injure the other person, were not behaving recklessly, and were otherwise engaged in a legitimate activity.

  • Police misconduct or entrapment

The police or a government agent took illegal or inappropriate activities, abused their power, or influenced you to commit a crime you would not have committed otherwise.

  • Search and seizure without authority

The evidence against you was collected through an unauthorized search of your home.

  • There is insufficient proof

The prosecution cannot prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt due to a lack of evidence.

  • Mistaken identity

You were mistakenly recognized as the perpetrator of a homicide or a murder.

  • False accusation

The claimed victim made a false accusation against you.


The federal government has its own procedure for charging and prosecuting manslaughter and murder cases, and these proceedings can be extremely stringent, demanding, and scary, particularly for defendants who have never appeared in federal court before. The federal court system is quite different from the state criminal justice system in California, and navigating the complexities of a federal criminal case requires a California Defense Attorney with unique skill and experience.

Federal criminal acts are investigated by federal agencies such as the FBI and DEA, and these accusations are prosecuted in federal court by the United States Attorney's Office, which has the time, money, power, and resources to sentence you to prison or death.

All you have to remember when deciding whether or not to employ a California Defense Attorney in your murder or manslaughter case is that the prosecution is already hard at work making its case against you. Our California Criminal Defense Lawyers can assist you if you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, have recently discovered that you are the subject of a federal investigation, or are going to face trial or punishment.


Offenses with Weapons


In California, a substantial portion of weapons offenses are stated felonies investigated by local law enforcement and prosecuted in state court, but specific weapons offenses can result in federal weapons charges, which are prosecuted in federal court by the US Attorney's office. If convicted of a federal firearms offense, you might face a term of five to ten years in prison or potentially a life term, depending on the specifics of your case.


Federal weapons violations are highly serious felonies, and federal sentencing for weapons offenses is a sophisticated process that necessitates the competence and experience of a seasoned California Federal Defense Lawyer.


If you are charged with a firearms crime in federal court, you must hire an L.A. Criminal Defense Attorney who is familiar with federal criminal law, the federal criminal court process, and the federal sentencing guidelines and who can ensure that you completely understand your legal alternatives.


What are Weapons of Mass Destruction Offenses?


Weapons offenses include violations of laws governing dangerous weapons, such as firearms, which the federal government defines as any weapon (including a starter gun) that will or is designed to or may quickly be converted to discharge a missile by the operation of explosives; the frame or receivers of any weapon; any firearms muffler or firearm silencer; or other destructive devices. The purchase, sale, ownership, production, import, and distribution of firearms are all governed by federal law, which forbids the sale of firearms to some restricted groups of persons, such as convicted felons, and outright forbids the sale of certain firearms, such as automatic firearms and machine guns.


Unauthorized possession, gun trafficking, fraud, and "violent crimes," or federal offenses involving the unlawful use of a firearm, are only some of the weapons accusations that can be prosecuted in federal court. The most prevalent federal weapons accusation includes defendants who have already been convicted of a felony and are thus prohibited from possessing any form of firearm. Title 18 of the United States Code governs federal weapons offenses, which includes various sections dealing with crimes involving firearms and other dangerous weapons, such as the following:

  1. Prohibited Person Possession of a Firearm or Ammunition

  2. Selling, giving, or otherwise disposing of a firearm or ammunition to a prohibited person is illegal.

  3. False Statement on a Gun Purchase Record

  4. Use, Carry, or Possess a Firearm in Connection with or in Pursuit of a Drug Felony or a Federal Violent Crime

  5. Firearms, ammunition, or explosives that have been stolen

  6. In a School Zone with a Firearm

  7. Possess or manufacture an illegal firearm with knowledge

  8. Selling, delivering, or transferring a firearm to a minor is illegal.

  9. You can't import, manufacture, or sell firearms without a license.

  10. Shooting from a moving vehicle


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Penalties for Weapons Offenses in the Criminal Justice System


Federal accusations generally occur when firearms are illegally manufactured, moved across state boundaries, used to commit a federal crime, or in other circumstances involving a breach of federal law. Individuals who break federal firearms laws face a range of criminal punishments, depending on the nature of the violation, any aggravating elements, and the defendant's previous history.


Defending Against Weapons Charges


Federal weapons crimes are investigated by highly skilled federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which have the time and resources to pursue criminal charges against defendants suspected of violating federal weapons laws, and expert lawyers prosecute these cases.


Firearms and other weapons charges are notoriously difficult to overcome, but it doesn't mean your federal weapons case is doomed. By contesting the prosecution's findings and holding the government to its burden of proof, an experienced California Criminal Defense Attorney can successfully defend you against federal firearms accusations. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt in federal criminal prosecutions, which is the highest level of proof available in criminal court. For example, establishing that you are guilty of each of the following aspects of the crime in the instance of federal accusations concerning possession of a firearm or ammunition by a banned person (18 US Code 922(g)) means establishing that you are guilty of each of the following aspects of the crime:

  1. You had or had a firearm or ammunition.

  2. You are a convicted felon, fugitive from justice, illegal or unlawful drug user or addict, alien in the United States illegally or unlawfully, dishonorably discharged servicemember, a person who has renounced US citizenship, a person who is the subject of a domestic protection order, person guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime, or someone who has been adjudicated as mentally "deficient."

  3. You crossed state lines with the firearm or ammo at any time.


Federal Weapons Offenses Defense Strategies


The key to fighting federal weapons charges and clearing your name is to prevent the prosecution from establishing its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which your counsel can do by providing evidence that contradicts the prosecution's account of events and causes the judge and jury to have doubts. Our California Criminal Defense Lawyers will thoroughly examine the government's evidence against you to identify the most effective defense strategy for your case. For example, suppose you are charged with illegally possessing a firearm violating 18 US Code 922(g). In that case, you may be able to use one of the following defenses to oppose the prosecution's evidence:

  • An illegal search resulted in the discovery of evidence against you.

  • The arresting officer lacked probable cause for making the arrest.

  • You do not fit into any of the federal statute's exclusionary categories.

  • There is insufficient evidence for the prosecution to prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • You had never been convicted of a felony before.

  • The weapon was not transported in interstate or international commerce.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right to keep and bear arms (albeit the state of California does not explicitly guarantee this right), but there are some circumstances in which your right to own a firearm is forfeited, such as if you have a felony conviction on your criminal record or if you are an unlawful user or addict of a controlled substance.


Even if you have the legal right to own a gun, there are still restrictions on the purchase and registration of guns that you must follow, and if you don't, you could be in violation of state or federal gun laws. Being suspected of a federal firearms offense is a terrifying situation to be in, but no matter how nervous or terrified you are, you must act fast to set yourself up for success from the start, which includes contacting a competent California Defense Lawyer as soon as possible to handle your case.


What Should You Do?


If you've recently learned that you're the subject of a federal criminal investigation or have been charged in federal court, you'll need a Criminal Defense Lawyers, but not just anyone.


Choose the proper lawyer for the job. When it comes to hiring a California Criminal Defense Lawyer to handle your case, the first thing you should think about is what kind of lawyer you require. You should look for a lawyer who focuses his practice on the field of law that pertains to your case.


Make sure he's handled situations similar to yours before hiring him. If you are charged with a white-collar crime, a drug-related offense, a sex crime, a violent crime, or a fraud violation in federal court, you should get a California Criminal Defense Attorney who has handled these types of cases before. You want a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the field of law that relevant to your case, but you don't want to get too detailed.


Choosing a Criminal Defense Lawyer who has dealt with the precise federal legislation under which you are being charged is less critical than finding one who understands the federal court procedure and has significant expertise representing defendants in federal drug cases if you are accused of a drug-related felony such as drug manufacturers.


Find a lawyer who can communicate well. Your criminal defense lawyer will be your most trusted resource, so it's critical that you and your California Criminal Defense Lawyer have a good working connection and can communicate effectively. It is your lawyer's responsibility to ensure that you are aware of the charges you are facing, your legal rights, and the choices available to you based on the facts of your case. Your LA Criminal Defense Lawyer is also in charge of putting up a sound defense and presenting your side of the story to the federal government, and if you pick a lawyer with bad communication skills, you will be doing yourself significant damage.


Look for a lawyer who is trustworthy and honest. You could be tempted to choose a California Criminal Defense Lawyer who promises a favorable conclusion in your case, but that lawyer is merely telling you what you want to hear in order to get hired. Honesty and integrity are significantly more significant than arrogance, bravado, and hollow promises when it comes to picking a Defense Lawyer who will stand between you and a possible prison sentence. A qualified lawyer will offer you an honest and transparent judgment of how the prosecution will move after performing a comprehensive study of your case, but he will not make any promises he cannot keep.


Make an appointment for a consultation. A face-to-face session can help you assess whether you feel at ease with a certain Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer and trust his experience and understanding of your criminal case. If you have the time, you can meet with numerous lawyers to choose which one best meets your legal needs. Many law companies will provide a free consultation, and there is no harm in talking with a lawyer and then choosing someone else.


Understand your legal rights. It is critical to understand your rights if you have received a target letter from a federal prosecutor, have been charged with a federal offense, or are about to face trial or punishment. The right to legal counsel is one of the most significant rights you have under federal criminal law. Once you employ a California Criminal Defense Lawyer, it should be his top concern to ensure that you understand your rights at every level of the criminal process and that he works tirelessly to safeguard those rights.


Find A Violent Crimes Lawyer in California


When you are charged with a violent federal crime such as murder, armed robbery, or manslaughter, you can indeed be sure that the prosecution will go to great lengths to convict you and send you to prison. Therefore it is vital that you have someone on your side fighting to keep you out of incarceration and clear your name.


1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to a fitting California Criminal Defense Attorney. You can contact us via our 24/7 Live Chat (or complete our case details submission form) for a free initial case review.

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