Violent Crimes (Murder / Homicide, Robbery, Carjacking, Assault, and Kidnapping)
Violent crimes present unique challenges for defendants and their attorneys. The evidence can be voluminous, as well as highly technical. The case can take a considerable amount of time to resolve. The victims and their families are frequently active in the case, and often expend considerable effort hounding the prosecutor's office for "justice". Finally, and depending upon such factors as the defendant's prior record and the severity of the offense, the sentences in these cases can sometimes be measured in decades, as opposed to years. Most of these cases involve first degree charges.
The law firm of James S. Friedman, LLC represents defendants accused of violent offenses such as:
- Murder or Homicide;
- Felony Murder;
- Aggravated Manslaughter;
- Reckless Manslaughter;
- Vehicular Homicide or "Death by Auto";
- Aggravated Assault; and
- Sexual Assault.
While a full discussion of each of these offenses is beyond the scope of this page, here are a few selected facts that defendants charged with violent crimes (and their families) should know:
Homicide Offenses - Generally speaking, the most severe homicide offense is knowingly or purposeful murder. This offense is followed in terms of severity by aggravated manslaughter and reckless manslaughter. The defendant's conduct and mental state will determine which homicide offense he or she is charged with.
A charge for felony murder stems from a homicide that occurs while the defendant was committing, or attempting to commit, a felony such as a robbery. A separate charge for felony murder must stem from, and will accompany, a charge for an underlying or predicate felony.
Vehicular Homicide or "Death by Auto" - In every car accident resulting in a fatality, the prosecutor's office will commence an investigation to determine if criminal charges are warranted. A charge for this offense can, therefore, potentially arise from any car accident that results in a fatality.
Robbery - Robbery involves a forcible taking of property. There are two types of robberies. First degree robbery ("armed robbery") typically involves the use of a weapon. A second degree robbery (a "strong arm robbery") involves the use of any type of physical force. The use of force elevates a simple theft charge to a robbery offense.
Carjacking - A carjacking involves the theft of a car that was taken from the victim forcibly, or where the victim is injured when the car is taken. Carjacking is a specialized form of robbery. Just as the use of force can convert a relatively minor theft into a robbery, the use of force converts a simple stolen car case into a carjacking.
Kidnapping - Kidnapping occurs when a victim is taken for ransom, held as a hostage, or taken in furtherance of other criminal activity. Terrorizing the victim or depriving a parent of custody of their child may support a kidnapping charge. Attorneys defending against kidnapping charges must determine whether the defendant took the victim while reasonably believing that his or her actions would ultimately protect the victim from harm, or whether the defendant reasonably believed that he or she had permission to take the victim.
Sexual Assault and Rape - Questions that commonly arise in these cases concern whether a weapon was used, whether the victim was forced to have sex with the defendant while the latter was committing another crime, or whether the victim was mentally ill or physically handicapped.
Charges for these offenses can involve large amounts of scientific and technical evidence, such as DNA evidence. An experienced criminal defense attorney must know how to review and challenge such evidence so that it is either excluded, or found to be wholly lacking in credibility.
James S. Friedman, LLC represents defendants charged with violent felonies. If you or someone you know has been charge with homicide, robbery, carjacking, kidnapping or a sex offense, contact us immediately.