California 3 Strikes Law

Visalia Criminal Defense Lawyer

The California 3 Strikes law is a harsh sentencing enhancement that can add substantial time to the prison terms of repeat offenders who are facing felony charges. This law can result in a life sentence depending on one's prior criminal history. If you are facing the consequences of the 3 Strikes law in Visalia or in the surrounding counties of Tulare, Kings, or Fresno, you should contact the Law Offices of Christopher Martens to schedule a free consultation about your case. Mr. Martens is an experienced trial lawyer who focuses exclusively on criminal cases. In his practice as a Visalia criminal defense attorney, he may be able to get strikes dismissed on your behalf through legal action.

What is the 3 Strikes Law and how does it work?

Certain felonies are considered "strikes." These are felonies that are considered violent or serious. Examples of criminal charges that are considered strikes are assault with a weapon, assault that causes great bodily harm, or a crime that benefits a criminal street gang. If you commit a new felony after being convicted of prior felonies, you will be subjected to this law. After just one strike, if you are convicted of a new felony, your sentence may be doubled. So if you face 2, 3, or 4 years for the crime, your sentence will be doubled to 4, 6, or 8 years. In addition, you will have to serve 85 percent of the sentence while a defendant with no strikes will only have to serve half of his sentence.

Once you have two strikes against you, any new felony conviction can result in a life sentence. If you are involved in a crime in which two victims are assaulted, you can be convicted of two counts of assault, resulting in two strikes. A third strike following this, even for a nonviolent crime, may result in a life sentence.

Strikes must be proven just like any other element of a crime. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. A skilled attorney may be able to raise reasonable doubt that the strikes occurred. An attorney can also negotiate with the district attorney or judge to have one or more of the strikes dismissed. Even if the strikes are proven, an experienced attorney can make a motion to have the strikes dismissed. This is called a Romero motion, where the argument is made to the judge that he should dismiss the strikes out of fairness to the defendant. The judge must consider all of the circumstances in the case in order to make a decision about whether to enforce the sentence with three strikes or not.

Contact the Visalia criminal defense attorney at the firm if you are facing a 3-Strikes situation today.

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