Juvenile convictions can qualify as strikes under the California three strikes law. The defining line for a juvenile case is that the defendant must have been at least 16 years old when they committed the offense.
This means that if a 15-year-old juvenile committed a robbery, it would not be considered a strike, regardless of the fact that robbery is on the list of offenses that qualify for the three strikes law.
In addition, not all juvenile offenses are strikes. For example, burglary—regardless of the offender’s age—does not qualify as a strike. These matters can get complicated, and in order for a defendant to get the best possible result and avoid becoming a victim of the system, so to speak, they need to obtain a criminal defense attorney who is very familiar with the three strikes law.
How Does One Go About Applying To Get A Strike Removed In California?
Once someone pleads or is found guilty of a crime that is a strike under the three strikes law, the strike cannot be removed. This is true even if someone committed a crime that was not initially a strike but later became a strike due to a change in the law.
If someone has a prior strike and they are concerned that they are going to be subject to the three strikes law, they should leave the state of California, because there is no way to get rid of strikes.
There is an interesting twist as it relates to the three strikes law, which is that if someone has a robbery strike and they then pick up a non-strike felony, that non-strike felony would be treated as a second strike.
For example, if someone has a conviction for robbery and picks up an additional conviction for robbery, the prosecutors could offer two years for the robbery, but then double it due to the prior strike. Due to it being a violent felony, that person would have to serve 85 percent of a four-year prison sentence.
In some scenarios, someone might only steal a pack of gum, but get chased down and tackled in the process of trying to escape. If they were to use force in the process of trying to escape, then the act of stealing the pack of gum would be considered robbery.
Robbery Case Example in California
This is a type of charge that’s often referred to as Nancy’s robbery. If someone finds themselves with a charge of this nature and they have a prior strike on their record, then they would be facing a four-year sentence.
A good defense attorney, however, could argue that charge using positive details about the circumstances of the offense and reach a deal with the head prosecutor, who may decide to strike the prior strike for the purposes of that deal. If that could be accomplished, then the defendant would no longer be facing four years of imprisonment, but perhaps probation, community service, or local jail time.
It is important to understand that under such circumstances, the strike would not be removed altogether but simply struck for the purposes of the deal. This means that if the defendant had to plead to a robbery in order to get that deal, they would have two strikes on their record.
The three strikes law can be complicated due to the fact that it has changed so much over the course of the past 25 years, and it has been fought all the way up the Supreme Court. Only the best criminal defense lawyers are going to be aware of the changes that have occurred and know how those changes may apply to any one particular case.
For more information on Juvenile Convictions Under 3 Strikes’ Law, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0940 today.