The state of California follows the Three Strikes Law, and it functions how it sounds: three strikes, and you are out. It is the most unforgiving law in the country and has sent even nonviolent serial offenders to jail for life. People are serving life sentences in California for crimes as minor as shoplifting.
If you are facing a conviction under the Three Strikes Law, there may never be a more crucial time to consult with a lawyer. You should take care to exhaust every resource available to you. Otherwise, you may face life in prison for something as simple as repeated petty theft.
When you have questions, speak to a California criminal defense attorney from the Simmrin Law Group about your case. Your freedom depends on it. Put your trust in an experienced member of our team.
Understanding Proposition 36
On November 26, 2012, voters in California passed Proposition 36. This law was designed to modify the harsh conditions of the Three Strikes Law, effectively making an “exception to the rule.” The exception is that defendants are only to receive the sentence of 25 years to life if all three strikes were for serious crimes.
Those who had already been sentenced under the Three Strikes Law could file a petition to have their sentences reduced. However, even under Proposition 36, there are still some crimes that can invoke the “enhanced sentencing” declared by the Three Strikes Law, including:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Murder or attempted murder
- Sex crimes involving minors
If you are currently facing charges for one of these more serious crimes in the state of California, you should seriously consider speaking with an attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the Three Strikes Law. Hiring a lawyer is especially important if you have prior convictions on your record. The more strikes you have, the harder you need to fight.
For a free legal consultation, call (310) 896-2723
Striking a “Strike” from Your Criminal Record
Perhaps more stressful than the uncertainty of a trial is the possibility of incurring another strike that could count toward your three strikes. The good news is that judges have the power to strike down a strike. When deciding a case, the judge will consider all the possible factors that could get a strike thrown out, including:
- The current charge
- When the other strikes took place
- The facts surrounding the prior strikes
- The history of the defendant
An experienced lawyer may convince the judge that you do not meet the requirements of the Three Strikes Law and have your strike dismissed. Getting a strike dismissed is not an easy task.
It is something you should not attempt alone. There are times when representing yourself in court is sufficient. However, when facing a Three Strikes conviction, having a legal professional by your side is a necessity.
Appealing a Three Strikes Sentence
If you are ultimately convicted and sentenced under the Three Strikes Law, all is not lost. You can still appeal, and appeals of Three Strikes cases have been successful in the past. One commonly relied upon precedent is that, depending on the underlying charges, the sentence handed down by the court may constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
In light of Proposition 36, it is more likely that a Three Strikes conviction can be amended. If someone you know is in prison on a Three Strikes conviction, one of our lawyers here at the Simmrin Law Group may be able to get their sentence reduced.
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Controversy Over the Three Strikes Law
Unsurprisingly with such a harsh law, the Three Strikes Law has drummed up a significant amount of controversy over the years. It was first introduced in Washington in 1993. Since then, it has branched out to more than half the states in the country, however, California’s law is considered the harshest and the most implemented in the country.
Since its inception, the Three Strikes Law has been debated over whether it is, at best, ineffective and, at worst, unconstitutional. However, despite these arguments, some courts still deny applications to reduce defendants’ sentences, finding that such a conviction is not “grossly disproportionate.”
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The Fight to Overturn California’s Three Strikes Law
Ever since the Three Strikes Law was first introduced, there has been a strong movement to attempt to overturn this law. While the passing of Proposition 36 was a small step in that direction, many people remain determined to keep pushing until the law is eliminated.
Despite the support for modifying the law, it still has strong backing in the new, more lenient form it has taken. The law continues to be viewed as harsh. However, many believe it is a necessary deterrent that helps to minimize crime. The actual efficacy of the law is difficult to measure, with many studies supporting both sides of the argument.
Whether California’s Three Strikes Law will ever be eliminated remains to be seen. For the foreseeable future, though, it remains on the books, and avoiding a strike is a top priority for defendants, especially those who already have previous strikes on their record.
Plea Bargaining to Avoid a Strike
One of the most effective ways to avoid a strike on your record when facing a possible conviction is to take a plea bargain. Going to court always comes with risk, even if your case seems strong. The prosecution offers a plea deal in most cases.
Whether taking the deal is in your best interest or not depends on the terms and the specifics of your case. However, when you are up against a potential third strike on your record, and a plea deal is on the table that guarantees that you will avoid the strike, taking the deal is almost always the best move. In these situations, a plea deal could mean the difference between a minor sentence and the potential for life in prison.
Taking the risk by taking your case to court might be too big of a gamble to make. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about the pros and cons of any plea deal you are offered. Do not accept a plea deal without first speaking to a member of the Simmrin Law Group.
You might not know what it is you exactly agree to without it first being reviewed by an experienced attorney. Call the Simmrin Law Group today to schedule an appointment with one of our California criminal defense attorneys.
Facing a Conviction in California? Do Not Wait – Call Now
The California Three Strikes Law is no joke. If you have prior convictions in the state and are currently fighting yet another charge, do not go it alone. The criminal defense lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group have experience dealing with the Three Strikes Law.
Fill out our online contact form or call us to speak with a lawyer on our criminal defense team. We provide you with a free consultation and no obligation to retain. The Three Strikes Law can ruin your life – let us help you fight back!