California, like several other states, has implemented a Three Strikes Law. The general idea behind the law is that an individual who is convicted of three felonies may be sentenced to an extremely severe prison sentence. While each state may put these types of laws into place differently, understanding California's guidelines may lend insight to Three Strikes in general.
The law was passed as a response to several California murders that shocked the public, including the deaths of teenagers Polly Klaas and Kimber Reynolds. These were heinous crimes that encouraged the public to reconsider how felonies may indicate future behavior.
California's implementation of Three Strikes is meant to prevent crime and to keep habitual offenders off the streets, eliminating the ability to commit future crimes. Overall, it is not clear whether Three Strikes actually works to deter crimes from occurring.
While the laws surrounding Three Strikes change, the consequences are severe. Without proper legal help, you may find yourself in a situation where you are facing a life sentence in prison. This guide will help you understand how to approach your next court case.
What Is the Three Strikes Law?
The Three Strikes Law, sometimes referred to as a habitual offender law, is meant to increase consequences for those convicted of multiple felonies. If an individual already has two strikes and is convicted of a third felony, he or she faces a state mandated prison term of 25 years to life.
Changes in Three Strikes in recent years has made it more difficult for certain felonies to count as the final strike. For example, a shoplifting offense is no longer eligible to count as a third strike as it may have in the past. This means that the crimes now have to be considered violent or serious since the law changes in the early 2000s and in 2016.
What Convictions Are Considered Strikes?
A strike is considered a felony that has been deemed violent or serious. On the surface, these include rape and murder; however, there are also other felonies that count. These include infliction of great bodily harm, attempted murder, certain types of gang activity, and firearm-related crimes. Essentially, any crime that could potentially be punished with death or life in prison could be a strike.
Sexually-based offenses that count as strikes in California also include oral copulation, sodomy, lewd acts on a child under 14, armed sexual assault, and ongoing sexual abuse.
Crimes associated with theft may also count as strikes. These include robbery, residential burglary, and carjacking.
Juvenile convictions may also count as strikes if the felony is violent or serious and the juvenile was at least 16 at the time of the offense.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. There are many crimes not listed here that may be considered violent or serious.
Can an Individual Appeal Sentencing in a Three Strikes Case?
If you find yourself in a position where you are facing sentencing for a third strike, you may be able to appeal this, sometimes through a higher court. You will need a solid legal professional to challenge the law on this level.
It is much simpler to fight back against strikes early on before they begin to accumulate, and it is also often worth the fight. You are facing high stakes, so you need a strong defense attorney to fight for your rights.
Ralph Torres Attorney At Law can help you by providing a strong defense. When the consequences of your actions could include life in prison, you do not want to bet on your freedom. Strong legal counsel can protect your rights.