What Is the California Three Strikes Law?

Our East Bay Criminal Lawyers Explain

The California Three Strikes Law first took effect in 1994. It is sometimes also called a habitual or persistent offender law. The idea behind it involves drastically increasing the punishment of a habitual offender. Twenty-eight states have some sort of Three Strikes Law, but California’s differs in several important regards. If facing three or even two strikes, you will need the help of skilled criminal defense attorneys. These attorneys must possess experienced knowledge of both federal and state laws.

Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson serve the Bay Area. Located in Hayward, California, this team of attorneys possesses more than 40 years of combined experience in criminal law that they can bring to bear on your criminal defense case. Our lawyers provide round-the-clock availability for clients who are under a great deal of strain and stress and seek to provide them with the information and help they need when they need it.

How Does the California Three Strikes Law Work?

It works like this. Each serious or violent crime you are convicted of is a strike, and if convicted of two strikes any then a subsequent violent or serious felony can result in a sentence of 25 years to life.

While crime has fallen almost in half since the law was first enacted in California, some have attributed that to better policing. This resulted from stronger relationships between the police departments and communities and new crime-predicting technology. In 2012, to answer criticisms, the state of California changed the law so that the third strike had to be a violent or serious felony in order for someone to receive a 25-year life sentence.

How Can a Criminal Lawyer Help?

Once the California Three Strikes Law was changed, people sentenced under the old law were allowed to petition to have their sentences reduced. Those denied this petition had committed multiple offenses that included more serious crimes that did greater damage and were deemed too dangerous to be released back into society. Such crimes included:

  • Sex or drug crimes, sometimes involving pornography, drug distribution and manufacture.
  • Crimes involving firearms or other deadly weapons, as they resulted or could potentially result in huge bodily harm or possibly loss of life.
  • A crime committed with the intent to inflict great bodily harm, sometimes with weapons or barehanded.
  • Certain serious or violent crimes designated as “super strikes,” such as rape, murder or child molestation.

Two years later, another reform allowed people convicted of the law to petition to have felonies reclassified as misdemeanors. However, judges can deny re-sentencing to anyone they deemed to pose “an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” The new California Three Strikes Law did not define what this meant. Adding to this confusion is that criminal law in California can be somewhat abstract, due to what many legal professionals refer to as “wobblers.” This refers to crimes that can be either felonies or misdemeanors depending upon the circumstances.

Obviously, navigating one’s way through these laws can be perplexing and much like wandering through a maze. You really need to have someone with the right experience and who knows what they are doing in your corner. Haywood criminal lawyers, like Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson, stand ready to use their expertise to help direct you toward the best possible result.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

Committing a mistake can put tremendous pressure on you. It lands you in a bad situation, and you only want to turn things back around and have a life again. Turning to criminal defense lawyers like Garcia, Schnayerson & Thompson can help. They have proven experience in both felonies and misdemeanors and also rely upon the qualified aid of experts and investigators to build a strong, solid case in your defense. They understand what you are going through and wish to provide a way for you to get back on track.

Our criminal law firm offers a free initial consultation. Call them today at (510) 887-7445 or (510) 782-7580. You may contact them online as well. They are on call 24 hours a day. Make the right choice to start setting your life aright today.