Violent Crime Statistics in California
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the violent crime rate in the Golden State rose in 2017 but still remains historically low. Overall, the statewide rate of violent crimes is comparable to the levels of the late 1960s. Between 1960 and 1980, there were significant increases in the violent crime rate—from 236 to 888 violent crimes per 100,000 residents (a 276 percent increase). After declining in the early 1980s, the violent crime rate rose again to peak in 1992 at 1,104 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Since that time, violent crimes have substantially decreased.
In 2017, California’s violent crime rate ranked 16th in the nation and was higher than the national average of 394 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. In 2017, nearly 60 percent of all violent crimes in California were aggravated assaults, 32 percent were robberies, 8 percent were raped, and one percent were homicides. The lowest rates of property crimes were on the South Coast of California, and the highest rate was in the San Joaquin Valley. While San Francisco had the highest rate of property crimes, the violent crime rate was about the same as the national average.
San Bernardino and Riverside Violent Crime Lawyers
Those who have been charged with a violent crime in San Bernardino or Riverside will face extremely harsh penalties, including steep fines, probation, and possibly anger management classes for the less serious violent crimes, and prison—or even the death penalty—for more serious violent crimes. The Greenberg & Greenberg attorneys have a proven record of defending clients against charges of assault, domestic violence, and other violent crimes. We will mount an aggressive defense on your behalf, working hard to obtain the right and best outcome for you. Our ultimate goal will be a dismissal of your charges or an acquittal by jury. If neither of those is possible lesser charges and reduced penalties.
At Greenberg & Greenberg, our former District Attorneys are now experienced defense lawyers who understand how prosecutors approach violent crime cases. We are well-versed in California statutes concerning violent crimes, including the three strikes law and gang-related enhancements. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle a wide range of violent crime defense cases in state courts throughout California. The scope of our practice includes defending against charges such as:
- Assault and Battery—A criminal charge of assault or battery in San Bernardino or Riverside is a serious offense. Even a relatively minor altercation can potentially result in a jail sentence and a criminal record. Assault refers to the use of force or violence against another person, including a threatening gesture, a shove, a push, brandishing a weapon, or even verbal threats. Battery is actual physical contact, which causes injury. Depending on the circumstances and the degree of harm, you could face misdemeanor charges with up to one year in jail as a penalty, or felony charges, with a prison sentence of 16 months or longer.
- Child Abuse—Allegations of child abuse or child endangerment can have extremely serious consequences. Child endangerment includes speeding or reckless driving with a child in the vehicle, drinking and driving with a child in the vehicle, or leaving a young child home alone. Child abuse includes striking, shoving, cruel punishment, or causing any type of physical injury to a child. A felony child abuse conviction can include a jail sentence of up to six years and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Child endangerment is a “wobbler” offense, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, the penalty is up to a year in jail, and as a felony, a child endangerment conviction can result in up to six years in state prison.
- Domestic Violence—Domestic violence charges can result in harsh penalties in the event of a conviction. Domestic violence can be a minor as shouting and shoving to as serious as domestic assault and battery with serious injury. Virtually any altercation which involves physical force or verbal threats of harm between spouses, former spouses, live-in partners, boyfriends or girlfriends, parents, siblings, children or any family member will be charged as domestic violence. Depending on the circumstances, California domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the result can be up to a year in jail, and if charged as a felony, the penalty could be years in state prison—as well as a “strike” under California’s Three-Strikes law.
- Manslaughter—In the state of California, a drunk driving accident or fight, which turns fatal can result in felony charges of manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. DUI manslaughter is a fatal accident caused by a person driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Vehicular manslaughter is a fatality which results from excessive speed, reckless driving, or other types of gross negligence behind the wheel. Involuntary manslaughter is a fatality which results from an assault with bare hands, a knife or other weapon—an intentional act which results in an unintended death of another human.
- Murder—There are many types of murder in the state of California, including first-degree murder, second-degree intentional murder, manslaughter, unintentional homicide, murder in self-defense, gang-related homicide, domestic violence murder, conspiracy or accomplice to murder or death which occurs during the commission of another crime. As the most serious violent crime, it is imperative that you have a highly experienced criminal defense attorney from Greenberg & Greenberg by your side, as the penalties can range from many years in prison to the death penalty (although California has not carried out an execution in over a decade).
- Attempted Murder—To prove attempted murder, the prosecution must prove that you took at least one step toward killing another person and that you intended to kill that person. Attempted murder is a serious offense in the state of California, which can result in life in prison, depending on the circumstances. The Greenberg & Greenberg San Bernardino and Riverside criminal defense attorneys will aggressively defend you against charges of attempted murder. We may argue that you were falsely accused, that you were acting in self-defense, or that you did not take the crucial first step toward taking the life of another person.
- Arson—In the state of California, arson is defined as a willful or malicious act which causes the burning of another’s property. The property can be a home, business, other structure, forest property, or another piece of land. Arson crimes are broken down into: Arson (willfully and maliciously setting fire to property) and Reckless Burning (a reckless act which results in the burning of property). The penalties for arson can range from years in state prison to life in prison, depending on the circumstances.
- Robbery—Robbery is a felony offense in the state of California, carrying the potential for a lengthy prison sentence. Robbery is a separate crime from burglary or theft because it involves the use of force or the threat of force against another person. There are many levels of robbery—first-degree robbery (state prison sentence of three to nine years, if convicted), second-degree robbery (state prison sentence of two to five years, if convicted), and carjacking, which is auto theft by force and carries a state prison sentence of three to nine years. Robbery falls under California’s Three-Strikes law, and the use of a gun during a robbery adds ten years to any sentence, while the discharge of a gun during a robbery adds twenty years to the sentence.
- Weapons Violations—California is tough on the illegal use of guns; a weapons crime conviction could result in your spending years in state prison. Prosecutors often add gun charges to other crimes such as drug possession and robbery, making the penalties much harsher. Weapons violations could include illegal possession of a gun, possession of an assault weapon, illegal sale of firearms, or the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a crime. California law gives a very broad definition of “deadly weapon,” which goes far beyond the use of guns and knives—in some cases, a fist can even be defined as a deadly weapon.
- Kidnapping—The penalties for kidnapping vary significantly, depending on the age of the victim, the degree of force used, the distance traveled, and various other factors. Kidnapping and false imprisonment are closely related crimes. A charge of kidnapping can sometimes be reduced to charges of false imprisonment. Kidnapping is defined as forcibly taking another person a substantial distance. False imprisonment includes locking someone in a room or home, dragging someone into a car, or disconnecting a phone line.
In the state of California, the penalties for a violent crime conviction have significantly increased. If charged with a violent crime, it is essential that you have a criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of trying violent crime cases. The Greenberg & Greenberg attorneys have that record, along with significant experience and knowledge of California statutes and laws related to violent crimes.
We are very familiar with California’s “Three-Strikes” law (most violent crimes in the state will fall under this law) and understand that prosecutors may overcharge without the benefit of a thorough investigation. Law enforcement generally has a goal of clearing such cases as quickly as possible, and, in some cases, rogue police officers could use illegal tactics to gain evidence. At Greenberg & Greenberg, we are highly skilled negotiators as well as aggressive litigators.
We have more than 70 years of combined criminal defense and litigation experience, and client satisfaction is our top priority. We are a father/son lawyer team, who are available 24/7. Contact Greenberg and Greenberg today if you or a loved one have been charged with a violent crime in San Bernardino or Riverside.