What Is Considered a Violent Crime in California?

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Crimes labeled “violent” often carry more severe consequences than “nonviolent” crimes. So what is a violent crime?

Although the California Penal Code does not provide a precise definition of what is considered a violent crime, it defines violent felonies. In California, violent felonies include:

  • Homicide,
  • Most sexual offenses,
  • Physically injuring or threatening to injure someone, and 
  • Many felonies perpetrated with a gun.  

If you have been accused of a violent crime, you need an experienced and dedicated California violent crime attorney to fight for you.

At The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, that is exactly what you get. Contact us online today or call (619) 776-3166 for a free consultation.

Violent Crime Defined

What is a violent crime in California, specifically? California’s definition can be broken down into the following four categories. 


There are three common homicide crimes:

Using an explosive device during any of these crimes is considered a separate offense. 

Sexual Offenses

Sexual offenses that are considered violent crimes include:

A sexual offense not included on this list, even if a felony, is not a violent crime in California.

Physical Injury or Threats of Injury

The broadest category of violent crimes includes:

Again, using an explosive device to injure another person subjects you to an additional charge. 

Forcible Theft Crimes 

Other felonies that are considered violent crimes include:

Any felony that carries a sentence of life in prison qualifies as well.

Consequences of Conviction

In California, the court uses previous violent felony convictions to lengthen sentences for new convictions.

On the second conviction, the sentence is doubled. On the third conviction, the sentence is 25-years-to-life. 

Defending Against Violent Crime Charges

With such high stakes, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side if you are charged with a violent crime in California.

At The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, we fight to ensure everyone, including those accused of violent crimes, gets their day in court.

Contact us online today to learn how our award-winning attorneys can help you.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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