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What Qualifies as a “Violent Felony” in California?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

violent felony, San Jose violent crime defense attorney, criminal offense, California law, human traffickingWhether or not a crime is classified as a violent felony can be of vital importance in a number of different circumstances. For example, violent felony convictions can count as strikes under California’s three strike law, and under CA Proposition 57 the state parole board can now consider early release for certain prisoners who did not commit a violent crime. This all seems pretty straightforward until you pause to consider which felonies are seen as being “violent” in the eyes of the law.

Does the perpetrator have to inflict bodily harm during the commission of a felony in order to have committed a violent felony? Does simply waving a gun in the air while committing a felony make that felony a violent one? In other words, what constitutes a violent felony under California law? The answer lies in the CA Penal Code.

Violent Felonies Defined: California PC 667.5(c)

All crimes that currently qualify as violent felonies under California law are listed in PC section 667.5(c). This list includes but is not limited to;

  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter;
  • Mayhem;
  • Rape (section 261(a)(2) or (6) or section 262(a)(1) or (4));
  • Sodomy (section 286(c) or (d));
  • Oral copulation (section 288a subdivision (c) or (d));
  • Lewd or lascivious act (section 288(a) or (b));
  • Any robbery;
  • Arson (section 451(a) or (b));
  • Kidnapping;
  • Attempted murder;
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child (section 288.5); and
  • Rape, spousal rape, or sexual penetration, in concert (section 264.1).

California Lawmakers Recently Decided Not to Expand this List

California's violent felony list dates back to 1976 and has been expanded over the years to encompass more and more crimes. Debate over which criminal offenses should be categorized as violent felonies has been going on since the list was created and the debate is still alive and well today. In fact, a Los Angeles Times article published just earlier this week reported that the Assembly Appropriations Committee recently shelved the last of a string of bills aimed at expanding the number of crimes that California classifies as violent felonies.

The most recent bill that California lawmakers decided to shelve was a bipartisan proposal to classify additional forms of rape, sodomy, and human trafficking as violent felonies. The Los Angeles Times reports that if passed into law, this bill would cost the state more than $1 million in corrections expenses. However, it seems unlikely that this proposed piece of legislation will be passed into law any time soon.

Need Legal Advice?

If you have been accused of committing a violent felony in California, it is very important that you consult with an experienced San Jose violent crime defense attorney straight away. At Jachimowicz Law Group our criminal defense team is led by former police officer Albie Jachimowicz. Mr. Jackimowicz’s firsthand understanding of police procedures and techniques gives our firm a decided edge when evaluating the weak points in the prosecution’s case. Let us put our knowledge and skill to work for you. Contact our office today for help.

Sources:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=667.5 .

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-california-lawmakers-shelve-bills-that-1495829129-htmlstory.html

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