I’ve been handling three-strikes defense now since 1994 when the Three Strikes Law came into effect. I’ve seen it come and go. I’ve seen where it was and where it is now. Today, the new Los Angeles County prosecutor has tried to get rid of the three-strikes law and not allow his deputies to use it.
However, what he doesn’t realize is both the police and prosecutors are using it. Judges are enforcing it and his authority has been severely limited.
The California “three strikes” law which is legally defined under Penal Code 667 PC is a sentencing scheme in which where defendants can receive a prison sentence of 25 years to life if convicted of three serious or violent felony offenses.
If you or a loved one is charged with a three-strikes case, you still are potentially looking at 25 to life if the prosecutors can show that you have two prior strikes that are either serious or violent felonies and your new strike is a serious or violent felony.
Then they can charge you under the three-strikes law. Your bail will be high. You’ll be facing 25 to life and it gives the prosecutors a lot of power against you.
However, if your case is being prosecuted in the San Fernando Valley and you have a fair prosecutor handling the case, they are likely to look at the current state of the law as it relates to how the District Attorney’s office is enforcing the Three Strikes Law.
A lot of times, instead of filing both of our prior strikes, they’ll only file one of the prior strikes, and a lot of times we can get the prosecutors to strike the strikes and we can get some sort of better resolution than you normally would have gotten before the new head prosecutor took over.
However, the type of defendants who are charged with the three-strikes law and who the prosecutors are trying to send away for life are those people who:
- they designate as career offenders; and
- those people who are committing serious or violent felonies that trigger the prosecutors to think about putting the person away for life.
When you talk about a career offender, you talk about somebody who has gone to prison multiple times, who continues to get charged with very serious criminal offenses, and who is a danger to society.
Those are the type of people that the prosecutors will try to put away for life. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will take a closer look below.
Crimes That are “Strikes” under California’s Three Strikes Law
In California, a “strike” under the three-strikes law are a conviction for a violent felony defined under Penal Code 667.5 PC, or a serious felony defined under Penal Code 1192.7 PC, including:
- Penal Code 187 PC – murder,
- Penal Code 664/187 PC – attempted murder,
- Penal Code 297 PC – kidnapping,
- Penal Code 215 PC – carjacking,
- Penal Code 203 PC – mayhem,
- Penal Code 261 PC – rape,
- Penal Code 287 PC – oral copulation by force,
- Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts on a child under fourteen,
- Penal Code 286 PC – sodomy
- Penal Code 203 PC – mayhem,
- Penal Code 192(a) PC – voluntary manslaughter,
- Penal Code 451 PC – arson,
- any felony punishable life in prison or death penalty;
- any felony where a great bodily injury occurred;
- assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer;
- any felony where the defendant used a dangerous weapon;
- assault with intent to commit rape or robbery;
- arson and exploding destructive devices with some types of intent;
- discharge of a firearm into an inhabited vehicle or dwelling;
- first-degree burglary, robbery, and bank robbery;
- witness intimidation or victim and certain criminal threats;
- kidnapping and hostage-taking by a prisoner;
- serious felony drug offenses involving heroin, cocaine;
Sometimes, there are three strikes disputes about what exactly is a qualifying felony offense, especially if the conviction was in another state. It is possible to appeal a three strikes sentence in California.
In 2012, Proposition 36 made significant changes to the three-strikes law allowing inmates to appeal their sentence. If successful in their appeal, they could get released from prison earlier or even immediately.
They could file an appeal on their sentence based on it being unconstitutional based under the Eight Amendment of the United States Constitution for cruel and unusual punishment.
Negotiation with Prosecutor in Three Strikes Cases
So, if you or a loved one falls under that category, you should immediately contact an attorney like me who’s been practicing criminal defense now for nearly 30 years.
I know what it takes to win cases when they don’t have the evidence against you, and I know what it takes to negotiate cases when they do have the evidence, but you’re not the type of person that should go away for 25 to life.
Pick up the phone now if you’ve got a Three Strikes case in the San Fernando Valley and are looking for somebody who knows how to convince prosecutors to strike strikes.
Also, who knows how to fight for their clients, who knows how to show prosecutors where you are now and that you are not your past, but you do have a strong future.
Pick up the phone. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you if you’ve got a Three Strikes case in the San Fernando Valley.
Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and we offer a free case evaluation by calling 213-542-0940.