Whether you have been charged with one, two, or three strikes, or your loved one has, you likely have questions about this controversial sentencing enhancement. At Chambers Law Firm we welcome your call to 855-397-0210 if you would like to speak to a criminal defense attorney for help. In the meantime, you can keep reading to get answers to some of the most common questions we are asked.
How Does Three Strike Sentencing Work?
The California three strikes law allows for harsher sentences for a person’s second and third “strikes.” A person is considered a third strike defendant if they have two or more convictions for serious or violent felonies and they are facing charges for another serious or violent felony. A third strike can add 25 years to life to the penalty for the third conviction.
If a person has two prior strikes for serious or violent felonies but the current felony charge they are facing is not a strikable offense, they will have their third strike sentence doubled.
Though there is a lot of discussion of the third strike, the three strikes law also affects a person charged with a second strike. A conviction for a second strike (as defined above) can result in the sentence being doubled for the current crime.
What Are Custody Credits?
In most cases, a prison inmate in California can earn custody credits for the time they serve with good behavior, which can result in release after serving just half of the sentence. However, three strikes laws limit this option. A person serving a second or third strike will have to complete at least 80% of their sentence before they can be released. If the offense is deemed to be a violent felony, they must serve 85% of the sentence.
What Charges Count as Strikes?
Generally speaking, a strike is a violent or serious felony. Violent felonies include murder, rape, extortion, voluntary manslaughter, carjacking, arson, oral copulation, arson, or kidnapping. If a person uses a firearm during a felony, this is a serious felony. It could include first-degree burglary, robbery, grand theft, or sale of drugs to a minor.
Is it Possible to Remove Prior Strikes?
Yes, courts can excuse/dismiss prior strikes if they believe it is in the interest of justice. Prosecutors can drop strike allegations if they believe the defendant does not deserve the increased sentence, or if they do not think they can prove it. Criminal defense attorneys can file a Romero motion to request that the judge dismiss a prior strike.
If you or a loved one is currently charged with a strikable offense, you need an attorney who has specific experience with this type of charge. You can contact Chambers Law Firm at 855-397-0210 for a free legal consultation.