According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime is any illegal activity that includes the threat of force or actual force. The FBI categorizes violent crime into four subsets. Those are murder, robbery, forced rape and aggravated assault.

When dealing with a violent crime charge, it’s very important to understand exactly what you are being charged with. Many people consider robbery to just be theft, for example, and that’s not true. Robbery requires an element of force, whereas burglary or other forms of theft do not. Someone who simply walked into a home and took something that didn’t belong to them might not have committed robbery, for example.

These distinctions are important because they can greatly impact the way you defend yourself and the potential consequences you might face. Violent crimes tends to have some of the higher maximum and manual sentences and you can face devastating loss of freedom if you are convicted. Even if you aren’t convicted, you can lose social standing, experience negative impact to your career and deal with other fall out simply because you were accused of a violent crime.

Data from the FBI does show that violent crime has trended downward since 2007. Decreased trends in crime are likely to mean decreased trends in accusations, but that doesn’t mean you will never be accused. If you find yourself accused of a violent crime in Wisconsin, you should take action quickly to manage your defense.

A first step you might consider is seeking assistance from a criminal law professional. He or she can help you understand exactly what you are facing and make educated decisions about your defense options.

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Violent Crime,” accessed Oct. 14, 2016