The Three Strikes Law in California has been controversial since it was implemented. Prior to amendments, this law warranted enhanced penalties for those arrested and charged with three felony offenses. Now, the Three Strikes Law only warrants enhanced penalties for those convicted of their third felony offense if that offense was a violent crime. If you are facing a felony offense, know that this puts you at risk for facing the consequences of the California Three Strikes Law. However, you are innocent until proven guilty. Knowing this, you should immediately enlist representation from a strong criminal lawyer at our firm. Okabe & Haushalter has a national reputation for excellence and can act as your advocate when facing serious felony offenses.
The Three Strikes Law in California is a baseball metaphor.
On the third strike, you are out.
In the California criminal justice system, on a third felony “strike” so long as it is a violent offense, you will be “out.” The enhanced penalties typically include 25 years to life imprisonment regardless of the nature of the offense, so long as it fits the categories of “violent,” “felony,” and “third.” Statistics indicate that around 25% of all California inmates are those who have been sentenced under the Three Strikes Law. Many people sought to reform this legislation and they were successful in the 2012 election. What about all the inmates who were previously sentenced under the old Three Strikes Law? If they were sentenced to 25 years to life on a third felony that was not extremely serious, then they could potentially petition for a sentence reduction.
To avoid confusion, California Penal Code § 1192.7 defines what crimes count as serious and violent offenses under the Three Strikes Law.
Serious offenses include, but are not limited to:
(1) Murder or voluntary manslaughter; (2) mayhem; (3) rape; (4) sodomy by force, violence, duress, menace, threat of great bodily injury, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person; (5) oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, threat of great bodily injury, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person; (6) lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14 years of age; (7) any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life;
To read the full statutes defining serious offenses, view California Penal Code § 1192.7(c).
Violent offenses include, but are not limited to:
(1) Murder or voluntary manslaughter. (2) Mayhem. (3) Rape as defined in paragraph (2) or (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 261 or paragraph (1) or (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 262. (4) Sodomy as defined in subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 286. (5) Oral copulation as defined in subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 288a. (6) Lewd or lascivious act as defined in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 288. (7) Any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life. (8) Any felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on any person
To read the full statutes defining violent offenses, view California Penal Code § 667.5(c).
Be informed that some individuals can face multiple strike offense charges in one sentencing if the alleged offense involved multiple counts of violent or serious felony offenses. There are also aggravated penalties for those convicted of their third felony offense even if it is not a violent offense. While these penalties will not be the “third strike” penalties, they can still be serious, and are a part of California’s habitual offender laws.
Whether or not you are facing a strike offense, a felony, a second or subsequent offense is taken extremely serious in the California criminal justice system, especially in large urban areas such as San Francisco. Whether you are facing enhanced sentencing or you have a loved one who is imprisoned and you would like to petition for their reduced sentence under the new Three Strikes Law, please do not hesitate to contact our firm. Discussing your case with us is free, so call now!