Pasadena Criminal Attorney

Sharen Ghatan- Lead Attorney
Over 20 Years of Experience Practicing Criminal Defense

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Violent Felony Penal Code Section 667.5

Crimes involving the use of weapon, physical force, or injury are referred to as violent crimes. A violent crime can also be referred to as a “violent felony” and is described under Penal Code 667.5(c). Such crimes have become rampant in the United States and California. This has led to the increase in the number of people being falsely accused of violent crimes. Law enforcement and prosecutors treat charges connected to these crimes extremely severe since they are often against a person, and they usually result in injuries and sometimes death. Violent crimes range from criminal threats (terrorism) to first degree murder. If you are charged with a violent crime, you need to address the problem at the earliest possible stage by contacting a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in defending these types of cases. Failure to act immediately makes it more difficult to defend the charges.

A conviction of violent crime will have severe and significant consequences to anyone facing the charges. In addition, nearly all violent crimes fall under the California’s Three Strikes Law, which means if convicted, you will have a strike against you for life. Furthermore, if it alleged that the accused used a firearm to commit the violent felony, caused great bodily injury, or a criminal street gang is connected to the crime, the penalties increase, adding five (5) to ten (10) years in prison. To avoid substantial consequences that follow with a felony, call Pasadena Criminal Attorney today at 626-689-2277 or fill our online contact form. We have been fighting to protect the rights of people who have been charged with all types of violent crimes.

Violent Crime Police Investigations

In most cases involving violent crimes, police are faced with public pressure to solve the crimes, and this usually results in the detectives having to rush their criminal investigation to make an arrest. Also, law enforcement can take statements from witnesses who may be lying or mistaken. This can result in a situation where false criminal charges are filed against an individual who is innocent. In a city as large as Pasadena, police departments are understaffed, and this means their goal is to clear a case as soon as possible in order to move on to another investigation. Sometimes, police will not take the time required to collect all the witness statements or evidence, which could have resulted in the prosecutor filing less severe charges, or declining to file the charges.

Our criminal defense attorneys are well versed in California criminal law and procedure. Using our knowledge and experience, we will ensure that the jury or court do not consider illegal evidence. With a rushed judgment to make an arrest, the prosecution can file charges for the worst type of violent crimes, or worse yet, an innocent person can be convicted of for a crime they didn’t commit.  Rogue police officers may use illegal tactics to gain evidence in some instances. The process is a continuous source of questions and confusion, which could confuse anyone. Therefore, if you’ve been charged with a violent crime, contact Pasadena Criminal attorney right away.

Employing a Defense Investigator

Since the prosecution side will have their evidence against you, it’s also imperative for you to gather the right evidence for your defense. Your attorney will use the help of a private investigator to conduct a defense investigation to question witnesses, record interviews of witnesses, photograph crime scenes, examine the physical evidence, as well as investigate for exculpatory evidence. Pasadena Criminal Attorney has access to highly reputable investigators who will work on behalf of our clients to develop a strong defense strategy.

Employing Defense Expert Witnesses

Employing defense experts in cases involving violent crimes is crucial. For instance, if you’re a victim of mistaken identification, a memory expert or eye-witness identification can testify on your behalf to explain the possible reasons as to why the witnesses identified you instead of the actual criminal. Some of the reasons here include memory loss from such a traumatic event, cross-racial identification, or poor lighting. Pasadena Criminal Attorney has access to some of the best experts qualified in particular fields to support your defense to defeat the charges against you. Common experts we employ to defend violent charges are eyewitness experts, DNA experts, fingerprint experts, experts in pathology, gunshot residue experts, handwriting analysis experts, GPS tracking experts, audio/video experts, blood pattern experts, and crime scene reconstruction experts.

Violent Crimes and the California Three Strikes Law PC 667

The Three Strikes Law as defined under Penal Code Section 667 is not a crime; it’s a sentencing scheme. This law is no game and is one of the harshest sentencing schemes in the country. The “three strikes and you’re out” law can send individuals convicted of offenses considered to be nonviolent to prison for life. Basically, it means that one can receive a 25-to-life prison sentence upon a third serious or violent felony conviction. This, therefore, implies that the law is designed to ensure that those who commit a felony and have been previously convicted of one or more violent felony offenses receive severe penalties and longer prison time. Also, the law implements other excessively punitive measures such as limiting a striker’s innate ability to earn custody credits and eliminating probation possibility.

Three strikes do not necessarily affect first offenders, those who are targeted are “second strikers” and “third strikers.” For instance, if you get your first felony strike conviction and you are later convicted of another felony like manslaughter, your sentence for the manslaughter conviction will be increased. For a third felony conviction, however, you will face the 25-to-life imprisonment.

In some instances, you can plead guilty or be convicted of two serious violent or felony charges in the same case. Both felony convictions can count as strikes on your criminal record, implying that you will have two strikes on your record already. However, your sentencing will not be affected by the Three Strikes law. For example, if you’re convicted of both assault with a deadly weapon or attempted murder, in the same criminal case, your sentencing will be determined by normal California sentencing guidelines because you had no prior felony strike on your record. However, the California Three Strike’s law will come into play if you are later convicted of another serious or violent felony, and this implies that you can be punished by 25 years to life in prison.

Originally, this law mostly targeted violent crime, but the list of felonies that qualify as strikes was broadened. Some of the violent crimes that qualify for a strike include:

  • Any murder offense as well as any attempted homicide offense
  • Solicitation to commit murder
  • Possession of a weapon of mass destruction
  • Assault with a machine gun on a peace officer or firefighter
  • A sexually violent offense
  • Oral copulation with a child who is under the age of 14, or more than 10 years younger than the defendant
  • A lewd act with a child under the age of 14
  • Any violent felony offense that can be punished by life imprisonment or death

Representing Those Accused of Violent Crimes in Los Angeles

Violent crime convictions cone with harsh consequences and Pasadena Criminal Attorney criminal defense firm places a strong focus on the defense of these crimes. When you choose us, you can trust us to pursue every legal option available to develop a strategy and reach a positive outcome in your case. Our team will examine all the evidence provided by the prosecution to find weaknesses. We will build the most persuasive case we can in your defense. We defend clients against various violent crime charges in California, including:


Murder is the most serious violent crime one may be accused of committing. Murder is defined under Penal Code Section 187 as the unlawful killing of another with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought may include acts committed with the specific intent to kill or bring about serious bodily harm as well as a wanton disregard for human life. Circumstances that qualify an act as murder include:

  • Discharging a firearm from a vehicle with intent to kill
  • Lying in wait
  • Torture
  • Using a weapon of mass destruction
  • Knowing use of armor-piercing ammunition
  • Killing in the perpetration of specified felonies including rape, arson, carjacking, burglary, mayhem, robbery, and kidnapping
  • Any other type of willful, deliberate, premeditated killing

Attempted Murder

This is another type of violent crime listed under Penal Code Section 667.5 and is considered unlawful even if the attempt is not successful. You can be found guilty of attempted murder if you had the intent to kill that person or fetus and you took a direct step towards killing another person. The sentencing and punishment for attempted murder differ depending on the degree of the crime. For first degree attempted murder, you may be sentenced to life in state prison. On the other hand, you face a maximum sentence of 9 years in state prison if you’re convicted of second degree murder. You will also be subject to a strike on your criminal record.


Manslaughter is a lesser charge than murder and involves killing another person without malice aforethought. For instance, causing the death of another in an auto accident while under the influence can be considered as manslaughter. Manslaughter can be divided into three types: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular. However, only voluntary manslaughter is considered a violent felony pursuant to California Penal Code 667.5(c). Voluntary manslaughter is the killing that occurs upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion. This, therefore, implies that the act of killing the other was out of extreme emotion.


Kidnapping is the forcible taking and/or holding another person against his or her will and is charged under PC 207. If you’re convicted of this violent crime, you face three (3), five (5), or eight (8) year prison sentence. If it alleged that you used force, fear, or fraud, then kidnapping becomes aggravated kidnapping. The crime can also be considered as aggravated if the victim is under 14 years, the victim sustains a substantial injury or die, you plan to ransom the victim, or the kidnapping occurred during a carjacking. You can face a life sentence with the possibility for parole if convicted of aggravated kidnapping.


Rape is a violent crime that involves sexual intercourse with a person (including your spouse) without consent. For instance, if the alleged victim is suffering from a disability or unconscious such that she cannot consent to sex, that constitutes rape.


Robbery, according to Penal Code 211, is the felonious act of taking of personal property against the will of the owner, accomplished by means of force or fear. Robbery is a felony and is divided into two degrees. First degree robbery involves the use of force to take property from any bus or taxi driver and their passengers, or from a person in a dwelling or at an ATM. All other robberies are second-degree robberies.

Assault with A Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon is charged under California Penal Code section 245(a)(1). A firearm is an obvious deadly weapon, but there are many other items that can be used as deadly weapons such as a screwdriver, vehicle, baseball bat, pencil, and an unloaded gun. This crime does not require physical contact but instead, what’s looked into is the intent to use a deadly weapon to commit a harmful or offensive touch.

Common Legal Violent Crimes Defense

  • You did not act willfully or with intent
  • You were falsely accused
  • You acted in self-defense or defense of another
  • You are a victim of mistaken identity
  • Exaggerations of the alleged victim
  • Casting reasonable doubt on the evidence presented

Contact Pasadena Criminal Attorney Today

If you’ve been accused of any violent crime, you need to contact an experienced and skilled attorney right away. When you retain us for your case, we will start working on your case immediately to better your chances for a positive outcome. We believe in direct contact and collaboration with you, and we can meet you in a free initial consultation to discuss your situation. Our job is to do everything we can to protect your rights and freedom by developing the best defense strategy for your case. Due to the severity of violent crime charges, we will provide you with a defense team and not just a single lawyer. Our defense team has extensive experience in handling violent crimes. You can be confident that your defense team will do everything possible to help you avoid conviction and all the penalties that follow. Call Pasadena Criminal Attorney at 626-689-2277 today for help.

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