There's crime, and then there's violent crime. For a crime to be considered a violent crime, generally there must be a victim who is either injured or killed as a result of the criminal act.
As a society, we have decided that violent crimes should be treated much more seriously than other types of crimes. Punishments for violent crimes are also much more severe than other non-violent crimes.
Not every sex crime will be considered a crime of violence. Charges for prostitution, or indecent exposure, for example, generally do not involve any physical injuries to victims.
However, the most egregious sex crimes, such as rape and sexual assault, or those involving minors, are violent crimes. These crimes are felonies that can result in several years in jail.
Although criminal laws vary from state to state, every state has laws against violence. Generally, non-fatal violent crimes that cause injury, or attempt to cause injury, are called crimes against the person. These can include:
Most of the above violent crimes will be charged as felonies, meaning that a criminal defendant could be facing at least one year in jail. However, in some situations, lesser violent crimes, such as simple battery or a domestic violence charge, where the injury is minimal, can be a misdemeanor, with only probation or a jail sentence of up to one year.
While charges for murder or manslaughter are among the most serious crimes a person can be charged with, there are degrees of these. How the various degrees are named will vary from state to state, however, generally, the degrees correspond to the severity of punishment. For example, involuntary manslaughter will be punished much much less harshly than premeditated murder, which, could result in a life or death sentence.