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When was the California Three Strikes Law started?

If you or a loved one is accused of a violent crime, we can help. California has a three strikes law. If you have two prior strikes, your next felony may send you or your loved on to state prison for a period of 25 years to life. If you are charged with a strike and you have no prior record, you should try to get the strike offense dismissed or resolved for a nonstrike. Our Los Angeles Criminal Attorneys have the experience and knowledge to provide effective legal representation when it comes to clients facing strikes or facing new felony charges with a prior strike on his or her record.



When was the California Three Strikes Law started?

California adopted the three strikes law in 1994. California mandates the 25 years to life sentence on the third felony so long as the first two felonies were deemed either "violent" or "serious" or both.

Wasn't there some proposition to limit the Three Strikes Law in California?

In November 2, 2004, California voters rejected proposition 66 which would have amended California's Three Strikes law by requiring the third felony be a serious felony. The ballot measure was doing well in the polls but a last minute TV campaign blitz by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined by former Governors Pete Wilson, Jerry Brown, Gray David and George Deukmejian ran tv and radio ads stated that if Proposition 66 passed, it would release 26,000 dangerous criminals and rapist. That was enough to barely defeat the measure by 52.7 percent of the voters.

As a result, California has handed out life sentences to persons accused of shoplifting (if the defendant has a prior conviction for theft including robbery and burglary. One person was handed a life sentence for stealing some golf clubs and another defendant was handed a life sentence for taking a slice of pepperoni pizza from a group of children.

The first and second strikes are counted by individual charges as opposed to individual cases. Thus one can obtain two strikes from a single case.

Can a juvenile strike be used to enhance a sentence in a adult proceedings?

Juvenile Strikes can be used in adult court proceedings for crimes that occur when the defendant is an adult. However, in the case of People v. Garcia, the California Supreme Court withdrew residential burglary from the juvenile strike list. For a juvenile offense to be considereda strike, the person must have been 16 years or older at the time of the offense, the offense must be listed under 707(b) of the Welfare and Institutions Code and the offense must be listed under 667.5 or 1192.7 of the penal code. Under penal code 667(d)(3), all three criteria must be met to be able to use a prior juvenile offense as a prior strike.

It is also possible for a defedant to be charged and convicted of multiple third strikes in a single case. The result could be two separate sentences that run consecutively whereby the defednat could receive a sentence for 50, 75 or 100 years to life.

Does the California Three Strikes constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

The United States Supreme Court on March 5, 2003 has held by a 5-4 decision that the Three Strikes Laws do not violate the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The California Three Strikes Laws can result in unjust results. If the third felony is not a serious or violent felony, the person charged can stil receive a life sentence.

Among the notable cases is Leandro Andrade who in 1995 was caught twice in a two week period shoplifing children's videos from K Mart Stores in Southern California. The total value of the nine childrens videos were $153.53. Ordinarily a petty theft would involve just a fine. Andrade received a sentence of 50 years to life.

What is the percentage of time a person spends in prison for commiting a violent felony?

If the person was convicted of a violent felony listed in Penal Code section 667.5(c) and sentenced to state prison, the person spends 85%.

What is the pecentage of time a person spends in custody for having a prior strike and the current case is not a serious or violent felony?

Most state prison inmates serve half-time with good behavior, but inmates convicted of a violent felony serve 85%. If the inmate was convicted with one prior strike under the Three Strikes law, he or she would serve 80%, unless it was a violent felony and 85% time applies.

I have a prior strike. My current offense is not a serious or violent felony. I am told that I still have to serve 80%. Is there any way to get my time served to 50%?

Yes. If you have been crime free for many years, in some instances, a court may consider striking your prior strike for sentences purposes only. This is often called a Romero motion. If the court strikes your prior strike, you would be eligible for 50% so long as your current offense is not a serious or violent felony.

If I am charged with a strike, is there any possibility to get the charge dismissed?

Yes. Sometimes, if there is proof problems, the prosecutor will agree to dismiss the entire case or offer a reduced non strike charge. As an example, sometimes a prosecutor may consider reducing a robbery penal code 211 charge to a nonstrike grand theft of person charge.

I am facing a strike. What can I do?

If you have are facing a strike offense, you need to consult and retain a three strikes criminal defense lawyer. We have the experience and knowledge to provide effective legal representation.

If you have a California Three Strikes case, we are available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You may reach us at (562) 860-5027 or afterhours at (626) 975-2080.

You may also call us toll free at 1-866-548-2529

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Ventura County
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