The state of California follows the Three Strikes Law, and it functions how it sounds: three strikes, and you’re out. It is the most unforgiving law in the country, as it can send even a nonviolent serial offender to jail for life. People are currently serving life sentences in California for crimes as small as petty theft.
If you’re facing a conviction under the Three Strikes Law, there may never be a more important time to consult with a lawyer. You should take care to exhaust every resource available to you – else you may be facing life in prison for something as simple as repeated shoplifting.
On November 26, 2012, voters in California passed Proposition 36. This law was meant 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 experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the Three Strikes Law. This is especially true if you have prior convictions on your record. The more strikes you have, the harder you need to fight.
Striking a “Strike”
Perhaps more stressful than the uncertainty of a trial is the uncertainty over whether you are about to incur 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 of 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
A good lawyer may be able to convince the judge that you do not meet the requirements of the Three Strikes Law and have your strike dismissed. This is not an easy thing for even lawyers to do, so it’s definitely something you shouldn’t do alone. There are times when representing yourself in court is sufficient. However, when you’re facing a Three Strikes conviction, this is not one of those times.
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 ground is that, depending on the underlying charges, the sentence handed down by the court may constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
In light of the passing 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.
Controversy Over the Three Strikes Law
As is to be expected 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 and has since branched out to more than half the states in the country. However, California’s law is considered the most affecting 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. Despite these arguments, however, some courts still deny applications to reduce defendants’ sentences, finding that such a conviction is not “grossly disproportionate.”
Facing a Conviction in California? Don’t Wait – Call Now!
California’s Three Strikes Law is no joke. If you have prior convictions in the state of California, and you’re currently fighting yet another charge, don’t go it alone. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers here at Simmrin Law Group have experience dealing with the Three Strikes Law, and we fight hard to help our clients get the best deal possible.
Fill out the form to the right, or call us at (310) 997-4688 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!