March 22, 2023 By Stephen Klarich

AB 229 Classifying Certain Sex Crimes as Violent Crimes Voted Down in California

In California, offenses classified as violent crimes are treated very seriously. Recently, a bill classifying certain sex crimes as violent crimes has been voted down in the state. Continue reading to learn what violent crimes entail and why AB 229 ultimately failed. 

What Are Violent Crimes in California? 

Violent crimes are those that are intended to or do cause serious harm to others. These crimes are generally felonies, and convictions can lead to heavy fines, jail sentences, and even the death penalty. Violent crimes are defined under California Penal Code Section 667.5(c) and include the following: 

  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter 
  • Mayhem 
  • Rape 
  • Lewd or lascivious acts with a minor 
  • Robbery 
  • Arson 
  • Kidnapping 
  • Assault 
  • Extortion 
  • Burglary 

The classification of an offense as a “violent crime” is important due to the Three Strikes Law, which provides for significantly enhanced punishments for repeat offenders. Upon being convicted of 3 violent crimes, an offender will generally receive a mandatory prison sentence of 25 years to life. 

What Is AB 229? 

Although crimes like domestic violence and human trafficking are violent, they are not classified as violent crimes in California’s penal code. Under current law, human trafficking is defined as a non-serious, non-violent crime. AB 229 is a bill that would expand the crimes that are within the definition of a violent felony for all purposes, including for purposes of the Three Strikes Law, to include human trafficking, felony domestic violence, and additional forms of sexual crimes such as rape of an unconscious or incapacitated person. The bill would significantly increase the potential for longer sentences for repeat offenders because under the state’s current Three Strikes Law, non-violent crimes are not considered strikes. 

AB 229 Voted Down in California 

Despite being heavily backed by the Republican Party, AB 229 was voted down last week by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, along with the rest of the panel’s Democrats. Jones-Sawyer argued that the bill was broadly recategorizing non-violent crimes, and even misdemeanors, as violent felony acts. Rather, he advocates for finding ways to reform the criminal justice system while promoting diversion and rehabilitative programs that end crime cycles of all categories. The effort to kill the bill has received backlash from both sides of the political spectrum. For now, offenses human trafficking and felony domestic violence will continue to be classified as non-violent offenses. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been charged with a sex crime, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. At Wallin & Klarich, we are up to date on the latest developments, and that knowledge could be the difference between you or your loved ones spending years in prison or having your case dismissed. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in a wide range of cases, and we have the skills and resources to help you avoid hefty fines and jail time. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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