If you have been charged with a specialized offense called a “crime of violence” there is a very real risk you may go to prison. A crime of violence charge (not to be confused with a violent crime) is any one of the following offenses: murder, ANY crime against an at-risk adult or an at-risk juvenile, 1st or 2nd degree assault, kidnapping, a sexual offense (felony), aggravated robbery, 1st degree arson, 1st degree burglary, escape, or criminal extortion if during that offense the offender used, or possessed and threatened the use of, a deadly weapon, or caused serious bodily injury or death to anyone other than the offender. Therefore, some offenses, such as felony menacing which, by definition, involve a deadly weapon, aren’t crimes of violence because they are not listed in the specific crimes that can be a crime of violence. Now, say an offender is charged with a crime of violence. If the defendant is found guilty (or pleads guilty) to a crime of violence, he or she can’t get probation, even if the Judge wants to give probation. They must be sentenced to prison and must be sentenced to prison from at least the midpoint of the normal range of punishment to double the normal punishment range. For example, a class 4 felony normally carries a 2-6 year sentencing range. Charge a crime of violence and that person, if convicted of the crime of violence, must receive between 4-12 years in prison. It gets even more complicated. A lot of offenses that are crimes of violence are also extraordinary risk crimes. An extraordinary risk crime is a crime (aggravated robbery, child abuse, distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance, any crime of violence, stalking, etc.) that is just slightly worse than other felonies of the same level. An extraordinary risk designation tacks an extra couple of years on the range of sentence for a given level of felony (2 years extra for a class 4 felony, 4 years extra for a class 3 felony). The crime of assault in the second degree, a class 4 felony, is both an extraordinary risk crime and a crime of violence. Therefore, the range changes from 2-6 years to 2-8 years (based on the extraordinary risk designation) and then to a mandatory 5-16 years prison based on the crime of violence. It’s important for your attorney to know these laws and to understand how all the statutes work together to change the sentencing ranges you may be facing.
While we hope you benefit from the information we posted above, it is important to note that we always suggest you contact an attorney to advise you and walk you through the legal process so that you can achieve the best possible result.