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The path ahead may seem daunting and uncertain if you or a loved one are charged with a violent crime. However, it is crucial to remember that you have rights and that seeking the help of a criminal defense attorney in Riverside, CA, can make all the difference in safeguarding your future. That is why we at the Law Office of Gregory H. Comings urge you to act and secure our legal services to navigate this challenging journey.
With experience and prior success in defending clients against violent crime charges, our law firm is dedicated to fighting tirelessly for your liberty, rights, and reputation. Led by Gregory H. Comings, our law office possesses the knowledge and dedication necessary to provide you with the robust criminal defense you deserve.
We understand the unique complexities and potentially life-altering consequences of such charges. Rest assured; we will leverage our legal knowledge to build a robust defense strategy tailored to your circumstances.
We believe in open communication and ensuring our clients are well-informed throughout the legal process. When you choose our services, you gain a trusted advisor who will guide you through every step, explaining complex legal concepts clearly and concisely. We will provide you with a thorough understanding of your rights, the charges you face, and the potential outcomes, empowering you to make informed decisions.
At our law office, we leave no stone unturned. Our dedicated team will meticulously investigate the evidence against you, scrutinize police procedures, interview witnesses, and consult with experts if necessary. This relentless pursuit of the truth allows us to uncover any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and build a compelling defense on your behalf.
Now is the time to act. Your future is too important to leave to chance. By seeking legal representation from the Law Office of Gregory H. Comings, you are investing in your defense and giving yourself the best opportunity for a favorable outcome.
What is Violent Crime?
California Penal Code 667.5 defines violent offenses in the state. All significant felonies, not just those in the first or second degree, are included in the definition of “violent crime.” Any criminal act that poses a significant risk of physical injury to another person or uses a deadly weapon is considered a violent crime. The sentence increases for some significant and violent offenses are established by section 667.5(c) of the Penal Code. Any person convicted of a significant or violent felony, as defined by the legislation, is subject to the enhancements. The additions to sentences are intended to harshly punish those who commit heinous or violent crimes.
For purposes of this definition, the following crimes are serious felonies:
- oral copulation
- sexual penetration
- lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14
- any felony punishable by death or life in prison
- any felony in which the defendant personally inflicted significant bodily injury on any person except on a peace officer
- any felony in which the defendant personally used a firearm
- any felony in which the defendant personally used
Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately following an arrest for a serious offense.
An attorney specializing in criminal law can be invaluable in defending your rights and interests throughout the legal process. The right to silence follows an arrest.
This means you have the right to have an attorney present whenever the police or anyone else asks you. You are also entitled to a public trial by a jury of your peers within a reasonable timeframe, and you should be treated as innocent unless proven guilty.
A criminal defense attorney should be sought out immediately following an arrest for a serious offense. A lawyer can advise you on your alternatives and help you construct a solid defense.
Considerations for Sentence Length
The judge’s final decision on the offender’s sentence depends on several variables. Among them are:
- The criminal record of the offender. The severity of the punishment for a crime may rise if the perpetrator has a criminal record.
- When deciding on a sentence, the offender’s age is considered. Offenses committed by those under 18 are punished differently from those over that age.
- The offender’s mental health status may influence offender sentencing. The offender may be eligible for a reduced sentence if they prove that their mental illness affected their criminal behavior.
- When deciding on a punishment, the victim’s age is considered. Penalties could be increased if the victim was younger than 16.
- The severity of the victim’s injuries is also considered while deciding on an appropriate punishment. The severity of the victim’s injuries may raise the offender’s punishment.
What is California Penal Code Section 667.5?
California Penal Code Section 667.5 is a provision that addresses enhancements to sentences for certain crimes committed by repeat offenders, commonly known as the “Three Strikes” law. Here is a summary of the key points:
Definition of a “Serious Felony”: The law specifies a list of crimes considered “serious felonies” that qualify for enhanced sentencing under the Three Strikes law. These include offenses such as murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes.
Repeat Offender Enhancements: If a person is convicted of a serious felony and has previously been convicted of one or more serious or violent felonies, their sentence will be enhanced. The law imposes additional prison terms for each prior conviction.
“Strike” Offenses: Under the Three Strikes law, a prior conviction for a serious or violent felony is known as a “strike.” If a person is convicted of a new severe felony with one or more prior strikes, their sentence will be significantly increased.
Sentencing Enhancements: The law establishes specific sentencing enhancements for repeat offenders with prior strikes. For example, a person with one prior strike may face a doubled prison term for a severe new felony conviction. If they have two or more prior strikes, their sentence can be increased to 25 years to life in prison.
Exceptions and Discretion: The law provides limited exceptions and allows for judicial discretion in certain circumstances. For instance, a court may strike or dismiss a prior strike if it determines that imposing the sentence enhancement would be unjust or inappropriate.
Prior Strike Offenses: To be considered a prior strike under the Three Strikes law, the previous conviction must have occurred before the commission of the current offense. The prior offense must also meet the criteria of a serious or violent felony as defined by California law.
Two Strikes and 25 Years to Life: If a defendant is convicted of a serious felony and has one prior strike, they face a doubled prison term for the current offense. For example, if the base sentence for the current offense is five years, it would be doubled to ten years. However, if the defendant has two or more prior strikes, they may be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the current offense.
Serious Felony Convictions: The law provides a comprehensive list of serious felonies in California Penal Code Section 1192.7(c). It includes murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, lewd acts with a child, robbery, arson, carjacking, and numerous other offenses categorized as severe due to their nature and potential harm inflicted.
Exceptions and Discretion: While the Three Strikes law generally mandates the imposition of sentence enhancements, there are some exceptions and opportunities for judicial discretion. For instance, a court can dismiss or strike a prior strike conviction under certain circumstances, effectively removing it from consideration for future enhancements. This discretion is often exercised when the court determines that imposing the complete sentence enhancement would result in an unjust or disproportionate punishment.
Revisions and Propositions: Over the years, the Three Strikes law has faced criticism for its potential to lead to overly harsh sentences. In response, California voters approved Proposition 36 in 2012, which modified the law to provide more leniency for certain non-violent offenders with prior strikes. Proposition 47, passed in 2014, reduced some non-serious and non-violent offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, limiting their potential to be considered strikes.
Determining Strikes: Under the Three Strikes law, a prior strike conviction remains indefinitely on a person’s record. Even if the prior conviction was many years ago, it could still enhance the sentence for a new serious felony offense.
Second Strike Sentencing: If a person is convicted of a serious felony and has one prior strike, the law requires the court to impose a sentence twice the term otherwise provided for the offense. This means that the base sentence for the current offense is doubled.
Third Strike Sentencing: If a person is convicted of a serious felony and has two or more prior strikes, the law imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. In some cases, the prosecution has the discretion to choose not to seek the third strike enhancement, which allows for a lesser sentence.
Limited Exceptions: California law provides limited exceptions to the Three Strikes law. For example, a “Three Strikes Reform Act” allows certain offenders with non-violent, non-serious third strike offenses to petition the court for resentencing. This act was passed in 2012 as Proposition 36 and aims to reduce sentences for non-violent offenders who would otherwise face life imprisonment.
Hire a Riverside Violent Crimes Defense Attorney
If you’re facing charges or being investigated for a violent crime, hiring a Riverside Violent Crimes Attorney can help protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. At The Law Office of Gregory H. Comings, our experienced Riverside criminal defense attorney will consider all the facts of your situation to develop a strategy for a thorough defense. We handle cases involving violent crimes, drug crimes, sex crimes, domestic violence, and felony DUI. Contact our Riverside office at (951) 686-3457 for further information and discover how our dedicated team can assist you.