Law enforcement harshly prosecutes those accused of crimes that involve the potential for serious injury or death for the victim. But what elements must be present for the crime to be considered violent?
An unlawful action using force
The law defines a violent crime as a voluntary or purposeful unlawful action that uses force of the threat of force against one or more people. The forcer may use actual physical force or threats of violence, often aided by a deadly weapon such as a gun or a knife. However, crimes of violence can also include various conduct that presents a potential risk of serious bodily injury to another, such as arson or the use of explosives.
Common violent crimes in Texas and Louisiana include:
- Assault and aggravated assault
- Sexual assault and rape
- Robbery and aggravated robbery
- Domestic violence
- Unlawful killing, including negligent homicide, manslaughter and murder
Stringent penalties follow a conviction
The punishments for violent crimes vary based on the nature of the offense and where the alleged crime occurred. Depending on the charge, those convicted of a violent crime face jail time, fines and even capital punishment. The victim-offender relationship, the availability and use of weapons and any history of prior offenses are all factors that can influence the severity of the charges and the resulting penalties.
Texas uses a determinate sentencing model which attempts to standardize sentences according to the offense classification. For instance, someone convicted of a First-Degree felony would face a harsher sentence than someone convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. However, Louisiana sets sentences on a crime-by-crime basis.
Following an arrest for a violent crime, you need to obtain legal assistance immediately. An attorney can protect your rights and help you navigate the challenging levels of the criminal justice system.