Three Strikes

Three Strikes Law in California

While a felony conviction can be a catastrophe anywhere, the California Three Strikes Law – also known as “Three Strikes and You’re Out Law” – is especially ruthless, making California the worst state in which to face a felony conviction. Prior to November 2012, it was for years one of the harshest sentencing schemes in the country and a law that would send people convicted of even non-violent offenses to prison for life.

A “strike” sentence could be triggered by any felony conviction – even for a “wobbler” or non-violent offense. As a result, strikers were being given lengthy and life sentences after convictions for things like receiving stolen property and simple possession of a controlled substance.  So the old version of three strikes could lead to gravely disproportionate and even absurd outcomes, like giving someone convicted of shoplifting a longer sentence than someone convicted of murder.

In addition to lengthening prison sentences, the Three Strikes Law also reduces prison credits for good behavior. The Three Strikes Law’s passage was based on the belief that it would protect Californians from violent repeat offenders who belong behind bars.

Examples of serious or violent “strikes”:

  • Murder or Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Mayhem (serious and deliberate injury that disfigures or disables a person)
  • Rape
  • Sodomy by Force
  • Oral Copulation by Force
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child under 14 years of age
  • Any Felony Punishable by Death or Imprisonment for Life
  • Any Felony using a Firearm or Inflicting Great Bodily Injury (GBI)
  • Robbery
  • Exploding any Device with Intent to Murder or Injure
  • Grand Theft involving a Firearm
  • Attempted Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
  • Carjacking with a Deadly Weapon
  • Offering to or selling, furnishing, administering, or giving, to a minor any heroin, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), or any methamphetamine-related drug
  • Assault by a life prisoner on a non-inmate.

Proposition 36: The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012

However, in November 2012, a growing movement of people dedicated to repealing or reforming the unfair three strikes law finally won a major battle. California voters passed “Proposition 36″, aka the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012.

To summarize briefly, the 2012 reform of the California Three Strikes law means that…in most cases…there will no longer be a mandatory 25-years-to-life sentence for “strikers” whose third strike is not a “serious” or “violent” felony. An overwhelming majority of California voters voted for this law…clearly showing that the public had finally had enough with the unfair and expensive older version of the Three Strikes system. Even better, Proposition 36 allows people sentenced under the old Three Strikes law…who would not be subject to a Three Strikes sentence under the new law…to petition for a reduced term.

Los Angeles Three Strikes Attorney

“Strike” offenses are very serious and defending against them can be complicated. In California the stakes are high when the accused is facing any “strike” offenses. Some inexperienced lawyers will plead these cases without a fight. At DCS Defense we will do the following:

  • Aggressively evaluate all the evidence to determine as quickly as possible whether to prepare a defense for trial, or prepare to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor or judge to cancel a strike (striking a strike).
  • Conduct legal research on prior strike convictions to determine if there could be a basis for questioning and attacking their validity.
  • Prepare a “Statement in Mitigation” to argue for a reduced sentence, for review by the District Attorney’s Office Strike Committee.
  • Prepare a Romero Motion asking the sentencing judge to cancel a prior “strike” conviction.

At DCS Defense we have helped many clients receive dismissals, acquittals, probation, or reduced penalties. We take pride in our work, and our results reflect our commitment and dedication to our clients.

If you have been arrested for or charged with a crime that could potentially be a “third strike” or a “strike” under California’s Three Strike Laws, contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense to schedule a no-cost confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.