(951) 667-5293

Orange County:

(714) 758-5293

who you hire can make all the difference

Mr. Donath has spent his entire career defending people and standing up for the rights of the accused.

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  • former deputy public defender

    As a former Deputy Public Defender in Riverside County, Mr. Donath has always been on the defense side of the law. 

  • award winning certified criminal law specialist

    Top 100 Trial Attorneys in California 2012-2014, 2008 Trial Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Public Defender's Office, and dozens of other awards and accolades.

  • a true passion for defending the accused

    Your lawyer should have a passion for defense, not just a passion for money. Reputation, vigor, and determination go a long way in this business.

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Riverside Violent Crimes Lawyer

Violent crimes are often devastating for victims and defendants who have been wrongfully charged. Terrorist threats, arson, assault, kidnapping, and false imprisonment are all violent crimes, and those convicted typically suffer the full extent of sentencing in the state. Some people may face a lifetime in prison for violent crimes. The seriousness of the charges makes these cases some of the most complex to defend as well as some of the most necessary; luckily, our Riverside violent crimes attorneys team has the resources and knowledge to defend you.

Our team of experienced criminal defense lawyer will not pretend to know the outcome of your case from the start, but we can build a strong case as your partner and fight aggressively for a fair trial and treatment every step of the way. We will tell you what we know to be true about the judicial system and help you make informed decisions about your future. If you do not have a criminal defense attorney and you are facing violent crimes charges, now is the time to act.

Law enforcement, prosecutors, and others in the criminal justice system make mistakes. When they do, they may target innocent people or unfairly treat those who have made grave errors. There are often numerous considerations in violent crime cases, including the context, emotional state, mental capacity, the conduct of police officers, and the existence of hard evidence. Prosecutors must prove a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC, a Riverside criminal defense firm, knows how to cast doubt on any number of violent crimes cases. Our experienced Riverside violent crimes lawyers can build up a strong case to protect your rights.

What is Considered a Violent Crime Under the law?

When we turn to information from the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, we can see that they define violent crimes as “rape, sexual assault, personal robbery, or assault.” The category of violent crimes includes both attempted crimes as well as completed crimes.

Additionally, both federal and state law typically consider other crimes associated with force or the threat of force as being violent. This can include reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter, kidnapping, various types of sexual offenses, and more. You will see that the state of California attaches the definition of violent to various offenses depending on the statute as well as the circumstances involved in the crime.

Most of the violent crimes that occur in this state are considered felonies. Felony offenses are much more severe than misdemeanor offenses. The degree of felony offense that a person faces in these situations will depend on the degree of harm the victim suffers as well as the actions taken by the alleged perpetrator when the offence occurred.

Types of Violent Crimes

Violent crime is an umbrella term used to classify a number of criminal activities that threaten the safety of others or cause harm or death. Violent crimes our offices handle include:

  • Robbery and burglary
  • Criminal threats
  • Arson
  • Domestic violence
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Gang participation
  • Mayhem (intentionally injuring or disfiguring)
  • Torture
  • Murder

The crimes themselves are fairly straightforward, and it may not be difficult to prove that they did, in fact, occur. However, proving that someone had malicious intent and did commit a crime with a sound mind is much more difficult. Our violent crimes lawyers in Riverside use a variety of defense strategies to protect our clients from wrongful consequences and severe sentencing.

Every violent crime case is different, and we begin our representation by gaining a full understanding of the circumstances. Mistaken identity, self-defense, witnesses who lie or exaggerate the truth, and poor police investigations may all play a role in building a strong defense against serious violent crimes charges.

In violent crime cases, investigators and evidence analysts may rush to pursue justice and catch a perpetrator instead of working systematically to get to the truth. These cases may result in pinning a crime on the wrong individual while a real criminal goes free. Our Riverside violent crimes lawyer looks at every angle that could affect our clients’ liberty.

Riverside violent crimes attorney

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

If you or somebody you care about has been accused of or arrested for a violent crime in California, you need to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The potential consequences of a guilty conviction for a violent crime in California are far too severe to simply hand your case over to a public defender. The sooner you consult with an attorney after an arrest for a violent crime, the better your chances will be that you do not make a mistake that could jeopardize your case. We recommend that any person who is arrested for a crime immediately request to have a Riverside violent crimes attorney present and provide no information to the police or prosecutors.

There are various reasons why hiring a criminal defense lawyer needs to happen after a violent crime arrest. Some of the top benefits of having an attorney by your side in these situations include:

  • Understanding the legal system. A skilled Riverside violent crime lawyer will have a thorough understanding of all of the parties involved in the case. This can include the judges, the prosecuting attorneys, and the law enforcement officers involved. Just the process of making court appearances and filing various motions is enough to overwhelm most individuals. The thought of a person handling an entire trial without assistance from an attorney is unfathomable. An attorney will be able to handle every aspect of the case, formulate solid defense strategies, and handle every court appearance and filing on behalf of their client.
  • Having legal knowledge. A skilled criminal defense attorney is an expert who has spent years honing their craft. They have deep knowledge of the legal system gained not only from their time in law school but also through years of experience defending people in similar situations. When you have someone by your side who understands the legal system, you have a much better chance of winning the case. An attorney will assess the facts, evaluate the evidence, and search for loopholes that could work in their client’s favor.
  • Saving you from heavy penalties. Different crimes in California have different penalties. A criminal defense attorney can help reduce the possible penalties you are facing by getting the charges lowered. Additionally, an attorney can work with all parties involved during the sentencing phase of a case in an effort to obtain a more favorable outcome on behalf of their client. This could include working on any potential plea bargains.
  • Having the resources necessary to handle the case. Skilled criminal defense lawyers in Riverside will have a team helping them, and they will have the resources necessary to handle the case correctly. These resources will be used to gather evidence, look for witnesses, cross-examine all parties involved, and develop winning strategies to help their client. An attorney will also have various legal experts that they can call on to help provide testimony on behalf of their client.
  • Legal assistance saves money and time overall. One reason many people avoid seeking assistance from a criminal defense lawyer in Riverside is the expense. The reality is that an attorney will end up saving a person time and money when examining the overall course of the case. An attorney will handle all of the legal matters so that their client and focus on managing their family and work life. A criminal defense lawyer is the best way for a person charged with a crime to clear their name and get back to living a normal life.
  • Technical and emotional support. When you work with an attorney for your case, you will have someone with whom you can share every detail about the case with. When a person faces criminal charges, this can be isolating. They need someone that they can turn to who offers proper legal assistance as well as emotional support. An attorney has dealt with these situations before, and they will know what to do and say to help you through this.

Potential Penalties for a Violent Crime Conviction in California

As we mentioned above, violent crimes are almost always going to result in felony charges in California. Felonies in this state are punished rather harshly, though there is no single set of felony punishments attached to crimes. Felony sentencing in this state can include time in state prison as well as major fines.

Felonies in California are typically punished for one of three terms; a low term, a middle term, or a high term. In most cases, a particular violent criminal statute violation will set forth these terms within the law itself. For example, California Penal Code Section 213 shows us that first-degree robbery is punishable by three, four, or six years to correspond with the low, middle, and high terms.

Similarly, California Penal Code Section 243.4 shows us that felony sexual battery has a range of punishments. This could include imprisonment in county jail, but it also allows for imprisonment in state prison for two, three, or four years.

Other violent crimes have similar levels of punishment. Additionally, most felony offenses carry potential fines of up to $10,000.

The penalties for murder and California range significantly. For capital murder, this is punishable by up to life in prison or the death penalty. First-degree murder carries a 25-years-to-life sentence in state prison. Second-degree murder carries a 15-years-to-life in state prison penalty, and other forms of homicide carry lesser penalties.

Violent Crime Statistics in California

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is a non-profit and non-partisan think tank devoted to improving public policy throughout the state. They gather data across a wide range of fields, including crimes committed in California. The PPIC gathers data about crime trends in this state each year. Here, we want to briefly review some of the violent crime statistics in California, but we do need to say that the information gathering process has been hampered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, crime rates shifted. These shifts have been attributed to the ongoing pandemic, but the overall impact is not yet clear. Preliminary data from four major cities (Oakland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego) indicates that there are some types of crimes that rose during the pandemic, though the overall crime rate has remained near historic lows. Towards the beginning of the pandemic, violent crimes dropped, though the overall violent crime rate returned to early 2020 levels fairly quickly. Preliminary data does suggest that there were decreases in reported robberies and rapes, but an increase in assaults. Perhaps the most troubling issue is data that shows an increase in homicides by approximately 30%.

To get a clear picture of long-term violent crime trends, we should look at data gathered from before the pandemic began. In 2019, the violent crime rate in California decreased by 2.9%. Aside from a slight uptick in violent crime in 2012 and then from 2015 to 2017, the state rate for violent crimes in 2019 was still below the rate that it was at in 2010. California has embarked on major criminal justice reforms over the last decade which have sought to reduce the level of crime overall.

In 2019, approximately 60% of the violent crimes reported in California were aggravated assaults. 30% were robberies, 9% were rapes, and 1% were homicides. Studies show that California’s rate of violent crimes does hover just above the national rate of violent crimes.

Hiring a Riverside Violent Crimes Attorney

If you are being investigated for a violent crime or you are facing charges, your case may determine the rest of your life. Convicted felons of violent crimes may spend the rest of their lives in an overcrowded and potentially corrupt state prison. Regardless of your beliefs and understanding of the circumstances, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way you can protect your rights and ensure your case obtains the best possible outcome.

Riverside criminal defense attorney Donath is a certified specialist in criminal defense law – an honor few defenders in the state hold. We work hard to get results for our clients because we know that their futures are at stake. Contact our Riverside office today for more information, and learn more about what our team can do to help.