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Three Strikes Law

Commonly referred to as the ‘Three Strikes and You’re Out’ law, California’s three strikes law is one of the harshest of its kind. In summary, the law increases the punishment for so-called repeat offenders. It means that if you have been convicted of two or more prior strikes, you will face a life sentence on a third felony conviction – even if this third felony conviction is itself not a strike.

Specifically, California’s three strike law sets a mandatory sentencing threshold for repeat offenders, requiring all defendant who have been convicted of a prior strike to be sentenced to prison for ‘twice the determinate term’ or ‘twice the minimum for the indeterminate term’. In addition to extending prison sentences, the three strikes law also reduces prison credits for good behavior.

What Counts as a Strike?

Not all convictions will count as a strike. Typically, strikes are given for serious felonies and violent crimes. The specific crimes that fall under this category can be found in California Penal Code section 667.5© and include (but not limited to):

  • Murder
  • Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Mayhem
  • Rape
  • Sodomy by Force
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child (under the age of 14)
  • Any Felony Punishable by Death or Life Imprisonment
  • Robbery
  • Grand Theft with a Firearm
  • Attempted Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault

What should be noted is that, as a general rule, any felony conviction that involves an act of violence will result in a strike. This includes not only specific crimes (i.e., murder, rape, etc.) but also general criminal offenses such as the infliction of ‘great bodily harm’ per California Penal Code 12022.7. In other words, although a crime may not be a strike per se, if committed in a certain way (such as with a firearm), then the three strikes rule will come into play.

Los Angeles Three Strikes and California Domestic Violence

As many of the crimes that fall under the domestic violence heading are either specifically included in the three strikes list or could be when certain circumstances are present, it is particularly important to seek the services of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Whether you are facing a first or second strike, and especially if you are looking at a potential third strike, call the Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman at 310.286.1218 for your free initial consultation.

Office Locations

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Studio City, CA 91604

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Los Angeles, CA 90025

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Ste. #110
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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