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Crimes of Violence

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Violent Crimes: Crimes of Violence in Texas Can Mean Harsh Sentences If Convicted

Both federal and state law give special treatment to “crimes of violence,” and both the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress have defined exactly what a crime of violence involves for purposes of federal crimes and Texas prosecutions.

Violent Crime Convictions Mean Severe Sentences

For those found guilty of crimes of violence, the punishment provided under the law is harsher — sentences and punishments are tougher in cases where violence has been a part of the crime. The most serious punishment? In Texas, violent crimes where someone has died can result in the sentence of death. Right now, there are over 300 inmates on Texas’ Death Row that have been convicted of crimes of violence.

Since crimes of violence can mean very long periods of incarceration for those convicted of these violent crimes, as well as the possibility of a death penalty sentence in some situations, it is usually the more serious and experienced criminal defense attorneys, such as lawyers that have been Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the State of Texas, that undertake the representation of those charged with serious crimes of violence.

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Cases in these situations may have complicating factors that include:

  • The use of weapons (handguns, rifles, knives, etc.) as part of the violence;
  • The seriousness of the injuries sustained by the victim of the violence; and
  • The past criminal record of the accused (including any history of violent behavior).

Defenses to crimes of violence will therefore also have complicated facts to build into a strong negotiation stance for any plea negotiations regarding lesser charges, dropping the charges, or defeating the prosecution’s case.

Laws Defining “Crimes of Violence” Exist to Increase Punishment for Violent Crimes

18 USC Code §924c defines the term “crime of violence” as an offense that is a felony and either:

(A) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, or

(B) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure §59.01(C)(3) defines a “crime of violence” as

(A) any criminal offense defined in the Penal Code or in a federal criminal law that results in a personal injury to a victim; or

(B) an act that is not an offense under the Penal Code involving the operation of a motor vehicle, aircraft, or water vehicle that results in injury or death sustained in an accident caused by a driver in violation of Section 550.021, Transportation Code.


Under federal sentencing guidelines, the following are considered to be crimes of violence:

  1. Murder;
  2. Manslaughter;
  3. Kidnapping;
  4. Aggravated Assault;
  5. Forcible Sex Offenses;
  6. Robbery;
  7. Arson;
  8. Extortion;
  9. Extortionate Extension Of Credit;
  10. Burglary of A Dwelling;
  11. Any offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another; or
  12. Any conduct set forth (i.e., expressly charged) in the count of which the defendant was convicted involved use of explosives or, by its nature, presented a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.

As a former prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer with over 150 jury trials defending clients against charges brought by district attorneys and U.S. federal prosecutors in Dallas County, Tarrant County, and elsewhere in the State of Texas, Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe not only brings his years of experience to each case, he also dedicates 100% of his law practice to the defense of those being accused of a crime under Texas or federal law.

With a streamlined law firm that coordinates its efforts to give each client the personal attention that they need and deserve when fighting against the government and the possibility of jail time, fines, permanent marks on public records, prison incarceration, loss of licensure, loss of jobs, absence from family events and everyday living, Michael Lowe maintains an efficient and excellent criminal trial practice that is ready to help you or your loved ones in your defense against criminal charges from pre-arrest investigation to post-trial appeals.

To discuss your case in a free and completely confidential consultation, please contact Dallas Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe today.


Have a Question? Call Michael Lowe for a Free Initial Consultation.