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Learn More: California's Three-Strike Law

Posted by Sara Cooper | Oct 09, 2023 | 0 Comments

Three-strikes law under California ruling is a sentencing method that comes with more than what is expected of, leading to being imprisoned from 25 years to life. The defendant to receive must be convicted of a violent of serious felony offense and already have two previous convictions that are also violent or serious felonies. This law is under Penal Code 667 (PC).

Prison sentencing is double under the Three Strikes Law for those:

  • convicted of any felony under California law and
  • who already have previous convictions of violent and serious felony offenses

The double sentence standard also applies to second strikers, according to Penal Code 667.

How to go against a three strikes sentence

There are several ways you can fight a California three strikes sentence. Requesting upon a judge, you can ask to get a prior strike moved under a Romero motion, or you can fight to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

Some three-strike sentences that people received years past might not apply today. If you or a family member are serving time under the three strike law, there is a chance you can get a sentence reduced and even be eligible for parole.

You are a triple striker defendant if:

  1. You have two prior convictions for serious or violent felonies and;
  2. You are currently charged with another serious or violent crime felony.

If both apply, the sentence can be at least 25 years and up to life for the charge you are currently facing.

If you two prior strikes and a current felony charge, BUT it is not a strike offense, that third strike stence would double the typical sentence for that third felony.

Custody credits” in state facilities for prisoners are given usually for good behavior, leading to an earlier sentence, even cutting it off by 50 percent. However, if you are serving time under three strikes, this does not apply.

Three strike sentences are also required to be served consecutively under California law.

A strike under California three strikes law is a conviction for either:

  • A violent felony under PC 667.5, or
  • A serious felony under PC 1192.7(c).

Examples of violent felonies include:

  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter,
  • Rape,
  • Oral copulation or sodomy by force,
  • Arson,
  • Kidnapping,
  • Carjacking, and
  • Extortion.

A felony where the defendant uses a firearm individually is a serious felony under Three Strikes.

Examples of serious felonies include:

  • Any felony where the defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury or uses a firearm,
  • First-degree burglary,
  • Robbery,
  • Grand theft involving a firearm, and
  • Sale of cocaine, heroin, PCP or methamphetamine to a minor.

Prosecutors tend to pick and choose what to “strike” for strike allegations, depending if they think the defendant deserves the strike overall. Being a striker is big change in a defendant's life, so it's not a decision a prosecutor should not take lightly. Factors can include if it is hard to prove or if there is understanding that being a striker isn't fit for the defendant's conviction.

A criminal defense attorney can also ask the judge to dismiss a strike prior. They can do this with a Romero motion.

A Romero motion is a request for the judge to dismiss a strike in the interest of the defendant and the conditions of the offense. All factors will be considered including how long ago the last strike had happened, the defendant's story and background, and the facts of the charge at hand.  

Appealing a three strikes sentence can be done with the assistance of an experienced appellate attorney. If successful, release can happen early or even right away.

Proposition 36 that was passed by CA voters in 2012, made changes to the law of three strikes, with many prisoners that were on the inside due to that are no longer. passed by voters in 2012, made significant changes to California's three-strikes law.

A three strikes defendant may also appeal his sentence because it violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as “cruel and unusual punishment.”

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