What crimes fall under the three strikes law?

In California, a “strike” offense is any conviction that is defined as a serious or violent felony under the California Penal Code. Serious felonies are listed in California Penal Code Section 1192.7(c). They include, but are not limited to:

  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter;
  • Mayhem;
  • Rape;
  • Any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in state prison for life;
  • Any felony in which the defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury on any
  • person;
  • Any felony in which the defendant personally uses a firearm;
  • Attempted murder;
  • Assault with intent to commit rape or murder;
  • Assault with a deadly weapon or instrument on a peace officer;
  • Exploding a destructive device or any explosive with intent to injure;
  • Any burglary of the first degree;
  • Robbery or bank robbery; and
  • Kidnapping.

Violent felonies are defined by California Penal Code Section 667.5(c). Violent felonies under California law include (but are not limited to):

  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter;
  • Mayhem;
  • Certain types of rape;
  • Any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life;
  • Any robbery;
  • Attempted murder;
  • Arson (some forms);
  • Kidnapping;
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child;
  • Assault with intent to commit a specified felony; and
  • Rape, spousal rape, or sexual penetration.

In addition, certain juvenile convictions — known as “sustained petitions” — may also count as strikes. If the juvenile conviction (1) would count as a strip as a serious or violent felony; (2) the crime is listed in California Welfare and Institutions Code 707(b); and (3) the juvenile was at least 16 years old when the offense occurred, then it will qualify as a strike.

A defendant can be charged with multiple strikes in a single court proceeding. Out-of-state convictions will count as strikes if they would be considered strikes under California law.

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