Three Strikes Law

Westminster Three Strikes Law Attorneys

California Criminal Defense Lawyers

California’s three strikes law is a sentencing scheme that adds significant time to the prison sentences of certain repeat offenders convicted of felonies. As of June 30, 2010, the California state prison population included 32,479 second strikers and 8,647 third strikers. Because “strike” sentences can be triggered by any felony conviction – even for a “wobbler” or nonviolent offense – strikers are serving lengthy and life sentences for convictions ranging from receiving stolen property to possession of a controlled substance to kidnapping to murder.

The Three strikes law was enacted by both legislative and voter initiatives in the 1990’s. It was amended in 2000 and again in 2006 to add additional crimes to the list of qualifying “strike” offenses.

According to the statute, the Three strikes law is designed to “ensure longer prison sentences and greater punishment for those who commit a felony and have been previously convicted of serious and/or violent felony offenses.”

Contrary to what you might think when you hear the term “three strikes,” California’s law targets both “second” strikers as well as “third” strikers. It also implements other excessively punitive measures like eliminating the possibility of probation and limiting a striker inmate’s ability to earn custody credits.

Sentencing in “third” strike cases

Under California’s three strikes law, if a person is convicted of any serious or violent felony, and has two or more “strike” priors (prior convictions for strike offenses), he or she must be sentenced to at least 25-years-to-life in state prison. A skilled Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney from Corrigan | Welbourn | Stokke can defend you if you are charged with a Third Strike Case.

Sentencing in “second” strike cases

If a person is convicted of any felony and has one “strike” prior, that person must be sentenced to double the prison term on the current conviction.

Custody credit calculation in strike sentences

California prison inmates earn “custody credits” for time served with good behavior. Because of these credits, an inmate normally serves only 50% of the sentence. But the three strikes law limits this privilege. A second striker must complete at least 80% of his or her sentence before being eligible for release (and 85% of the sentence if the inmate is convicted of a violent felony).

It is imperative to hire an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney from Corrigan | Welbourn | Stokke to defend you.