Violent Crimes

Self Defense as Violent Crime Defense

- Lotze Mosley

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Annual 2014 Crime In The United States report showed that the estimated number of violent crimes decreased slightly when compared to 2013 data. In 2014, law enforcers all over the U.S. reported a total of 1,165,383 violent crimes with police making 498,666 arrests for various violent crimes that year.

In Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia statute, particularly Section 23-1331 refers to the following as ‘crimes of violence’:

  • Act of terrorism
  • Various types of assaults (on a police officer, with a dangerous weapon, with intent to kill, with significant bodily injury)
  • First and second degrees of sexual abuse
  • Burglary
  • Carjacking and armed carjacking
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Blackmail or extortion with threats of violence

Penalties for Violent Crimes

A charge for a violent crime is a serious case that can lead to severe penalties such as long periods of jail time and fines, depending on the actual crime charged and existence of a prior conviction for the same crime. A conviction for a crime of violence can also have a severe impact on your life, often causing difficulties in obtaining quality employment, housing, and higher education.

If you are charged with a violent crime, it’s absolutely necessary to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Right to Self Defense

Depending on the circumstances of the case, your lawyer may determine that self-defense may be raised against the charge for a violent crime such as assault or manslaughter. Certain rules come into play in this type of criminal defense. For instance, courts have ruled that:

  • Where evidence of self defense is present, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self defense. And if prosecution fails to prove that the defendant did not act in self defense, the defendant must be acquitted
  • Self defense is not available when the defendant was also the aggressor or the person who provoked the conflict
  • It is also not an act of self defense when the defendant used a greater force than was reasonably necessary under the situation. But even if excessive force was used, the defense of self defense may still be available if there is evidence that the defendant acted in the heat of passion brought on by the assault

Defending a charge for a violent crime involves a complicated mix of technical rules of procedure and substantive legal precedents that only a seasoned criminal defense attorney can handle.

In Washington, D.C., the lawyers here at Lotze Mosley, LLP have been practicing criminal defense litigation since 1993. Our firm works very hard to ensure that our clients get the best possible outcome, whether a dismissal or reduction of the charges for violent crimes.

We encourage you to call us today at (202) 393-0535 to speak to one of our attorneys about your case.

Grand Jury Police Indictments: Why Similar Cases Have Different Outcomes

- Lotze Mosley

There have been many contentious topics in the news recently, one of them being the indictments – or lack thereof – of police officers who have killed innocent and unarmed racial minorities.

It is peculiar to look at the individual cases, as some are strikingly similar. However, where one case garnered an indictment for the police officer involved, another did not.

The question is—why are some officers being indicted for their use of force against an unarmed racial minority while others are not?

Political Climate and Personal Aspirations

Oftentimes prosecutors will choose to bring charges against a police officer for political reasons. A prosecutor in a jurisdiction where he or she is seeking re-election may do things to placate a certain majority from which he or she is seeking a vote.

Some prosecutors also have ambitions of becoming players on the national stage. Because race relations are important today, a prosecutor with National aspirations may make a bigger or lesser deal out of what appears to be a racially charged killing, depending on to whom the prosecutor wishes to appeal

Police-Prosecution Relationship

Another big factor is the relationship between the local police department and the prosecutor’s office. In two high-profile cases where officers were indicted on simple misdemeanor charges for actions that resulted in deaths of another individual, the police departments were relatively small.

Prosecutors’ offices may be less likely to rely on a smaller police department for bigger prosecutions, and the handling of larger cases. So it may be less costly to “throw a smaller police department under the bus” so to speak.

The use of force by police against civilians, especially racial minorities, has garnered some well-deserved attention. However, results have not been uniform geographically when it comes to indicting police officers accused of committing these crimes. Each town and geographic region is different, and there are different factors that influence the outcomes of each grand jury indictment.

Lotze Mosley has been handling criminal cases for many years, and we know that being accused of a crime is especially difficult and stigmatizing. We went to help. For an initial consultation, we welcome your call to our office at (202) 393-0535.

D.C. Violent Crimes on the Rise

- Lotze Mosley

Just before 2014 ended, a 71-year-old man and his son were killed in Southeast Washington, and another was fatally shot a day later in the Northeast. This surge of violence began Christmas week.

According to the Washington Post, more than 15 people were killed from December 23 to the end of the year, four on Christmas Eve. Although the D.C. mayor considers the spikes in violent crime to be unexplained, he did tour two neighborhoods before the New Year in order to answer questions that many residents had regarding the recent spike in violent crime.

The mayor wants to drive down violent crime rates and ensure that police are doing their jobs and everything they can to curb violent crime in the area. She expressed her confidence in the police chief and in the group of officers that patrol the District of Columbia.

Violent crime is serious, and it affects a lot of individuals – including the accused. At Lotze Mosley, our goal is to assist those who have been accused – rightfully or wrongfully – of violent crime. Our years of experience in criminal defense have helped us to secure successful jury verdicts and plea negotiations for our clients. We strive to do everything we can to ensure that our clients are treated fairly by the Washington D.C. and Maryland criminal justice systems.

Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a violent crime our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help. We welcome your call to our office at (202) 393-0535.

We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate the merits of your case. With us, no stone goes unturned.