All criminal offenses are serious, that’s why they’ve been codified as crimes by the legislature. However, prosecutors do prosecute some crimes more aggressively and at the top of the list are violent crimes. Some of the ways that violent crimes can be considered some of the worst criminal charge for an individual to face are: Level of Offense, Sentencing, and Stigma.
The legislature views more criminal offense statutes as a way to protect a “victim.” Sometimes that victim may be an individual or other times it is society itself. For example, in the case of drug charges or DUIs, the victim is society. In the violent crime setting, however, there is a clear and identifiable individual as the victim. Additionally, that victim has often suffered a serious personal physical harm, or injury.
The legislature has made a lot of violent crimes very high level offenses. This is to try and deter behavior that would result in innocent victims being physically harmed or injured. For example, a prosecutor could charge aggravated assault as a third, second, or first degree felony, depending on the facts. So an individual convicted of aggravated assault could be facing prison time. What this all means for the accused individual is that from the very beginning of the case, the stakes are very high.
The general process in any criminal proceeding is that there is a guilt determination phase and then a sentencing phase. The guilt phase is where a judge or jury finds an individaul guilty or not guilty. Sometimes the guilt includes the individual admitting fault and making a guilty plea. At the conclusion of the guilt phase, the court moves on to the sentencing phase. Sentencing is the process by which the judge decides what penalties to impose on the convicted individual. While there are some guidelines to what the sentence should be, the judge has a lot of leeway on what they will ultimately order.
When it comes to violent crimes a judge is much more likely to sentence an individual harshly. This means the judge will sentence at the higher end of the spectrum, especially if the victim has made a statement to the court. Due to these harsher sentencing results it is very important that the accused individual fights the charges. The only real way to fight a charge is to take the case to trial. Due to the high stakes with violent crime cases it often makes sense to take on the risk of trial.
While most attorneys will tell you about the laws and regulations written down in the code and the possible sentence you could receive if convicted of such and such a crime, there is still one more punishment you could face as part of a violent crime conviction that the court doesn’t deal with at all; and that is the negative stigma that comes from being convicted of a violent crime.
No matter how much you think your case is different than everyone else’s, it usually isn’t. If you are charged with a violent crime then in a lot of ways the story no longer matters, because people will make up their own story. This final punishment of negative stigma can affect people in a lot of ways. It could be the difference between getting a job or an apartment. It could even change how neighbors and friends treat you. Individuals facing criminal charges should not take this final factor lightly, especially in violent crime cases. Violent crimes carry some of the most negative stigma out there and a conviction could really limit your future opportunities.
As you can see above, a violent crime is nothing to ignore or take lightly. If you’ve been charged with a violent crime then you should contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Without an experienced attorney at your side you could be facing seriously negative consequences. In a lot of situations some of these negative consequences could be avoided. At Peterson Legal we’re dedicated to getting our clients the best possible outcome and making sure they understand their options. So reach out to us today for a free consultation!
A list of violent crimes is as follows: