Violent Crimes


If you are charged with a violent crime in Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, L.A. County, or the surrounding area, you need an experienced, aggressive lawyer on your side today. California takes violent crime cases seriously, and you could face harsh penalties if you are convicted.

Crimes that threaten or injure the victim are the most harshly punished offenses. Most violent crimes are major felonies, meaning they will result in a prison sentence and could also contribute to a life sentence for repeat offenders. The California Three Strikes Law lengthens sentences for repeat felonies and requires a sentence of 25 years to life for a third or subsequent offense.

The following are a few of the violent crimes that could be sentenced in this manner:

Defined in Cal. Pen. Code § 192 as "the unlawful killing of a human being without malice," manslaughter can be committed in three degrees:

  • Voluntary - During a sudden argument in the heat of passion
  • Involuntary - While committing a crime that is not a felony or while performing a reckless act that could result in death
  • Vehicular - While operating a motor vehicle

Section 193 lists the sentencing for voluntary manslaughter as 3, 6, or 11 years in prison. Involuntary manslaughter results in two, three, or four years. Vehicular manslaughter has several degrees, depending on whether or not the driver was committing a crime or was intoxicated while operating the vehicle. The offense is usually a felony punishable by 2, 4, 6, or 10 years in prison.

Any threat or attempt to bring injury on another person through a violent act, along with the present ability to do so, is considered assault (Cal. Pen. Code § 240). As long as the victim was in fear of immediate and serious bodily harm due to the assaulter's threats or actions, assault charges could be filed. Simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and jail sentence of up to six months, or a fine of $2,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year for assault of a peace officer, firefighter, paramedic, or other city official. Aggravated assault, which involves the intent to commit a felony such as rape, is a felony punishable by two, four, or six years in prison (§220-222). Burglary coupled with aggravated assault is punishable by a life sentence, as is assault with the intent to commit murder (§ 187).

Domestic Violence
There are several forms of domestic abuse or violence. Spousal battery (Cal. Pen. Code § 243(e) is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, a jail sentence of up to one year, or both. Spousal abuse resulting in a traumatic condition (§ 273.5) is a felony punishable by two, three, or four years in prison, a fine of up to $6,000, or both. Child abuse (§ 270-273.75) involves neglecting or injuring a child, a parent's refusal to accept their minor child into their home, or allowing truancy in school.

In general, the penalty for child abuse is a fine of up to $2,000, a jail or prison sentence of up to one year, or both. Sexual abuse of a spouse (§ 262) is a felony punishable by a prison sentence of 3, 6, or 8 years. Sexual abuse of a child (§ 264(c)) is a felony punishable by a prison sentence of 9, 11, or 13 years. In certain circumstances, a person convicted of aggravated sexual abuse of a child may face a penalty of life imprisonment.

California Penal Code §242 defines battery as "any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another." Generally, battery involves physical contact with another person in a forceful, violent, or harmful way. Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, a jail sentence of up to six months, or both. Battery against a peace officer or that inflicts serious bodily harm is classified as a felony punishable by a prison term ranging from 16 months to 4 years (§ 243(c)(2)).


Have you been charged with a violent crime? Start building your defense by contacting a Ventura County criminal defense attorney from Ridley Defense. In order to effectively fight charges of a violent crime, you must be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you did not commit the crime or that you committed a lesser offense. For example, even if you cannot have murder charges against you dropped, you could have them reduced to manslaughter so that you face a much lighter sentence. Our firm could provide an experienced defense lawyer with insight into prosecution strategies and tactics, which could be used to build the strongest possible defense on your behalf. Contact our offices today and schedule an appointment for a consultation.


With five years of prior experience as a Ventura County Deputy District Attorney, Douglas H. Ridley could provide an edge to your defense that is difficult to find at other firms. Our firm has fought false charges and wrongful sentences for 13 years and we are ready to fight for you. Your initial case evaluation is absolutely free, so call us today to learn what could be done to obtain a reduction or dismissal of your violent crime charges.