The Three Strikes Law is one of the best known sections of California’s legal code. While most people are aware that, as the name implies, those convicted of three “strikes” under the law can be sentenced to life imprisonment, there are still a lot of details about the law that most people are unfamiliar with. Fortunately, Fallbrook violent crimes lawyer Peter M. Liss is here to answer these questions for you.
What is a strike?
A strike can be any violent or serious felony. That includes serious sex crimes such as child molestation or rape and violent crimes such as battery with serious bodily injury, robbery or kidnapping. Additionally, many non-violent crimes with a gang enhancement can also be considered a strike, such as vandalism. It is worth noting though that under the 2013 revision of the law, the third strike can be any felony at all if one of the first two strikes was for rape, murder, child molestation or a felony committed with a firearm.
Can multiple strikes come from a single case?
Yes. If you had two strike-level offenses related to a single crime. That means any serious or violent felony in the future could leave you behind bars for the rest of your life. This is why it is so important to always work with a top San Marcos violent crimes attorney, as he may be able to negotiate a plea bargain that leaves you with only one strike on your record.
Can out-of-state convictions count as strikes?
Yes. If the conviction would have counted as a strike under California law, it will still count against you if you face charges for a future strikeable offense. This remains true even if the conviction was removed from your record under that state’s laws.
Do juvenile crimes fall under the Three Strikes Law?
Sometimes, but only if the crime was a violent or serious felony committed when the minor was 16 or older.
Can those convicted under the Three Strikes Law get paroled?
Yes, depending on how many offenses are on your record. If you are convicted for your second strike, you must serve 80% of your sentence before you can qualify for parole, whereas normally you would only need to serve 50% of the sentence. If you are convicted for a third strike, you must serve you must serve 80% of the 25 years before becoming eligible for parole. Of course, the parole board can still deny parole which is why conviction of a third strike is potentially a life sentence.
It is worth noting that since the law was enacted in 1994, those first convicted under the Three Strikes Law are only now becoming eligible for parole this year.
Can you remove a strike from your record?
Once a strike is on your record, it will stay there, but either a judge or DA can agree to strike a strike. If the judge does it, it is called a Romero Motion and requires extensive briefing by your Escondido criminal defense lawyer.
This is also sometimes called “striking a prior strike.” When making the determination on whether or not to strike a strike, the judge will consider the circumstances around the strike, the rest of your criminal record, your age at the time of the offense and more. Even if the judge ignores your prior strike though, it will still remain on your record and count against you if you are charged with any felony in the future.
If you have any questions about the three strikes law or are being charged with a crime that may be a strike, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Rancho Bernardo defense attorney Peter Liss.