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Understanding California’s Three Strikes Law

Posted on in Criminal Defense

California three strikes law, San Jose criminal defense lawyers, repeat felons, California felony offense, violent felonyIn 2014, the Northern California towns of Patterson and Westley were plagued by a serial robber who held up nine different businesses over the span of several months, reports the Patterson Irrigator. The robber was subsequently captured, put on trial in Stanislaus County, and was convicted. This conviction made him eligible for a life sentence under California’s Three Strikes law, as he had previously been convicted of two other robberies in 2003. 

CA’s Three Strikes Sentencing Law

California’s Three Strikes law was originally enacted in 1994 in order to significantly increase the prison sentences imposed on select repeat felons. The 1994 version of California’s Three Strikes law contained the following two key provisions:

  1. A defendant who was previously convicted of a serious felony (i.e. a defendant with one strike), and who has now been convicted of any new felony, must be sentenced to serve twice the prison term otherwise provided for the new felony; and
  2. A defendant with two or more prior strikes on his or her record (i.e. two or more prior convictions for serious felonies) must be sentenced to serve a prison term of at least 25 years to life upon being convicted of any new felony offense.

For years, the 1994 version of California’s Three Strikes statute was considered to be one of the harshest sentencing laws in the country. However, Californians voted to significantly amend the Three Strikes law in 2012 by passing Proposition 36. Under the amended Three Strikes statute, California courts are currently only required to sentence a three (or more) strike offender to serve 25 years to life if his or her most recent felony conviction was a serious or violent felony. This amendment is a significant departure from the original version of the law which required such offenders to be sentenced to serve 25 years to life for any new felony offense, regardless of whether or not that felony was serious or violent.

Serious or Violent Felonies

So which crimes qualify as a “serious or violent felony” under California’s Three Strikes sentencing law? While the answer to this question does change from time to time, a current list of serious felony offenses can be found in section 1192.7(c) of the CA Penal Code while a list of violent felonies is provided in section 667.5(c) of the CA Penal Code.

Reach Out to Us for Help

If you have been accused of committing a crime in California, consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer straight away, regardless of whether or not being convicted would make you eligible for an increased sentence under California’s Three Strikes law. At Jachimowicz Law Group our dedicated San Jose criminal defense lawyers handle a wide variety of criminal cases throughout Northern California and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you during an initial consultation.

Source:

http://www.goldenstatenewspapers.com/patterson_irrigator/news/local_news/serial-robber-sentenced/article_740765d8-4662-11e7-99af-17f3da6794bd.html

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