What Are Crimes Against the Person?

by Ambrosio Rodriguez | Aug 22, 2022 | Criminal Law

The FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System divides criminal offenses into three categories:

  • Crimes Against Persons
  • Crimes Against Property
  • Crimes Against Society

Crimes against the person are criminal offenses involving victims. The suspect is accused of committing a crime that caused injury, death, the threat of injury or death, or other harm to a victim.

Title 8 of the California Penal Code outlines nine categories of crimes against the person. Those categories are:


Homicide is the crime of intentionally killing someone. You can be charged with either first-degree homicide or second-degree homicide. Generally, a second-degree homicide involves a crime of passion, which is less serious than a first-degree homicide charge that involves premeditated murder or planning.


The code defines mayhem as “unlawfully and maliciously” depriving another person of a body part or causing the body party to be disfigured, disabled, or otherwise useless. Mayhem also includes cutting or disabling a person’s eye, tongue, ear, nose, or lip.


The law defines kidnapping as forcibly or by any means taking, holding, arresting, instilling fear, stealing, or detaining any person and carrying that person anywhere in the same county or a different county, state, or country. In other words, if you move another person to a different location by fear or force, you can be charged with kidnapping.


Taking hostages involves the false imprisonment of another person. However, the incident must be committed by a person who is:

  • Facing being arrested;
  • So they try to protect themselves from being arrested by restraining another person; and,
  • They risked psychological or physical harm to the victim.

Taking hostages also includes using a person for the purpose of a shield.


The statute defines robbery as the criminal taking of another person’s property that is in their possession. The defendant takes the property against the person’s will from them or in their immediate presence through force or fear.

Attempts To Kill

Attempted murder occurs when a person takes any action to accomplish murder with the intent to kill. It must be more than the mere planning to murder someone. The charge can be first or second-degree attempted murder.

Assault and Battery

Battery is the unlawful and willful use of violence or force against another person. The victim may sustain harm, but it is not a requirement for the defendant to be charged with battery. All that is required is that they touch the other person in an offensive manner.

On the other hand, an assault is an attempt to use violence or force against someone. The assault and battery statutes include numerous forms of assault and battery that a person could be charged with if they touch or threaten another person.

Assaults With Intent To Commit a Felony

If a person commits assault while committing a felony, the charge is felony crimes against a person.

False Imprisonment and Human Trafficking

The statute defines false imprisonment as an unlawful violation of another individual’s personal liberty. If the defendant deprived the individual of their personal liberty with the intent to force them to perform services or labor, they are guilty of human trafficking.

Penalties for Crimes Against the Person in California

Crimes against the person include misdemeanor and felony offenses. Some charges could be increased to felony charges if aggravating factors are involved or the victim is a minor, elderly person, or incapacitated person. Convictions could result in fines, imprisonment, restitution, probation, and other penalties.

Depending on the severity of the crime, the person could be sentenced to life in prison, with or without parole. They could also be sentenced to death.

Because of the potential penalties a person could face, it is best to seek immediate legal advice from an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with committing a crime against another person.

Are There Defenses To Crimes Against the Person?

The potential defenses you could use if charged with a crime against another person depend on the crime. However, many of these crimes involve intent. Therefore, you could argue lack of intent as a defense, meaning you did not intend to harm another person.

Other defenses to criminal charges that could apply include:

  • Violations of your Constitutional rights, including illegal searches and seizures, lack of probable cause, and improper questioning
  • You have an alibi for the time of the criminal offense
  • Self-defense (you were defending yourself or another person)
  • You were defending your property
  • Involuntary intoxication or impairment
  • Mistaken identity
  • You acted under coercion or duress

A criminal defense attorney investigates the circumstances of your arrest and analyzes the state’s evidence to develop a defense strategy that gives you the best chance of winning your criminal case.

Contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Law Firm of The Rodriguez Law Group Today For Help

For more information please contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense law firm of The Rodriguez Law Group for a free consultation, give us a call at (213) 995-6767 or visit our convenient location:

The Rodriguez Law Group – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States