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What's The California Three Strikes Law?

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

Beginner's Guide To California Three Strikes Sentencing Law


The first time you commit a crime can be considered accidental. However, the second you time you commit a crime, it might be a pattern.


Hence, repeat offenses are considered more severe in California, with each repeat having harsher punishments than the last. Here's what you need to know about the California Three Strikes Law, as experienced by our prescreened California Criminal Defense Attorneys:



How Does California Three Strikes Law Work?


There are two sections to the Three Strikes Law:

  • A defendant who has two or more prior strike-through offenses and commits a new felony offense shall receive a sentence of at least 25 years to life in state prison.

  • The base term for the most recent felony must be doubled for a person with one prior strike against them.

Hence, it's crucial for you to consult a prescreened California criminal defense lawyer to make sure you get the best outcome.


Which Offenses Are Eligible Under California Three Strikes Sentencing Law?

Any of these violent or serious felonies can be eligible under the three strikes law:

  • Murder and attempted murder

  • Voluntary manslaughter

  • Mayhem

  • Rape

  • Robbery

  • Arson

  • Kidnapping

  • Criminal threats

  • Domestic violence-related crimes

Additionally, even some felonies that can be considered misdemeanors (wobblers) can be counted in California.



What If The Crimes Were Committed In Different States?

Convictions for crimes that, if performed in California, would qualify as violent or serious felonies will count as strikes. Even though the earlier offense was voided under the laws of the defendant's home state, these convictions will nonetheless count as strikes in California.

What If The Defendant Is A Minor?

If the defendant was at least 16 years old when the offense was committed, some offenses from juvenile adjudications are exempt.


Can Prior Strikes Be Removed In California?


A move known as a "Romero Motion" can be submitted to have past strike offenses dismissed. A hearing will be scheduled so the motion can be argued in court.


Even though repeat offenders are subject to extra punishment under California's Three Strikes Law, anyone charged with a third felony violation should contact a California criminal defense lawyer ASAP. These earlier convictions might be overturned for the sake of justice with the assistance of prescreened California Criminal Defense Attorneys.


When deciding whether to dismiss the past strike offenses, the court considers several circumstances, including:

  • The current offense's lack of seriousness. Given the relatively modest nature of the new offense, a court may be justified in overturning a former conviction when a defendant is accused of a current offense that is not violent or life-threatening.

    • Moreover, the other non-severe quality of the current offense can support dismissing a strike prior, even in situations when offenders have lengthy criminal histories.

  • A more severe sentence will be given if the previous offenses are not dropped. Because the primary goal of overturning a prior conviction is to prevent unfair punishments, a defendant's sentence must also be considered when making that decision.

Additionally, other unrelated factors that the court frequently takes into account are:

  • Whether the defendant's prior convictions resulted from a single episode of unusual behavior

  • Whether addiction issues existed at the time the offenses were committed

  • Whether there has been any actual violence in the defendant's criminal history


Get A Referral To The Best California Criminal Defense Attorneys

1000Attorneys is a certified lawyer referral service in California. We can link you up with a trusted and highly-skilled prescreened California criminal defense lawyer who is the best fit to handle your case.


Contact us now through our inquiry form or our 24/7 live chat feature. We can connect you with a criminal defense lawyer in minutes!

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