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Defending Against a Three Strikes Case

February 28, 2019

A skilled attorney can use several strategies to defend against a Three Strikes case

: Defending Against a Three Strikes CaseCalifornia has one of the harshest sentencing schemes in the country with its “Three Strikes” law.  Under this law, which was first enacted in the 1990’s, repeated offenders who are convicted of serious or violent felonies (or “strikes”) have significant time added to their prison sentences.  Over the years, the Three Strikes law has been amended, so that in most cases, defendants will only receive a sentence of 25 years to life if all three of their “strikes” were for serious or violent felonies.

Under this law, a prior conviction qualifies as a strike if it was for a serious or violent felony as defined under California law.  Most felonies that involve some form of violence are included on this list, including those where the defendant personally used a firearm, where a “gang enhancement” is found, and where the defendant inflicted great bodily harm on the victim. Serious crimes include offenses such as residential burglary and robbery. In addition, juvenile sustained petitions (a conviction in juvenile court) are considered strike if the juvenile was at least 16 years of age when the offense occurred, the conviction is considered a violent or serious felony, and the crime is listed in a particular section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code. Out-of-state convictions can also count as strikes.

According to a criminal defense lawyer Riverside, CA, if a person is convicted of a “strike” offense, then he or she is subjected to harsher sentencing measures, including eliminating the possibility of probation and limiting the inmate’s ability to earn custody credits.  This applies to both second and third strike cases.

Given the severity of the Three Strike laws, a strong defense is necessary if you have been charged with a potential “strike” offense.  There are several ways that a skilled criminal defense lawyer Riverside, CA can work to defend you against a “strike” case.

First, your attorney can file what is known as a Romero motion.  This is a legal document where your criminal defense lawyer Riverside, CA asks the judge to dismiss strike allegations in the furtherance of justice.  The motion will lay out the facts of the current case, as well as the facts of the prior strikes, including how long ago they occurred and your history.  The court will consider all of the circumstances of your case in making a decision on whether to grant or deny a Romero motion.

Second, your attorney can strongly contest the prosecutor’s attempt to prove a strike allegation.  Importantly, a prosecutor is required to prove that you have prior “strikes” using court records, prison records, and other evidence.  An experienced criminal defense lawyer Riverside, CA can use his or her knowledge of the California criminal justice system to expose flaws in the prosecutor’s argument to demonstrate that prior criminal convictions do not count as strikes — potentially preventing a lengthy sentence enhancement

Third, and perhaps most importantly, your criminal defense lawyer Riverside, CA can vigorously contest the current charges.  If your attorney can get a felony charge dismissed or reduced to a non-strike felony (or a misdemeanor), then you can entirely avoid the application of the Three Strikes law. This is why it is incredibly important to hire a top notch criminal defense attorney — to protect your rights and your future.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the Chambers Law Firm is here for you.  Our aggressive criminal defense lawyers Riverside, CA will advocate for your rights and your freedom.  Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation.

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