What Will It Take to Get Rid of a Strike in a Criminal Case?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingMay 16, 2023

This is a big question on people's minds because they're either charged with a strike in California that they don't want to have to plead guilty to, or they have a prior strike conviction.

They don't want to get their sentence doubled, or even a sentence of 25 to life, so they or their family are trying to figure out what can be done to get rid of a strike. 

If it's a current charge being charged as a strike and you want a different charge, you can go to trial and get a not-guilty verdict, and you'll have nothing on your record. 

If that's unrealistic and you'll have to take something, you must figure out how to mitigate the circumstances and show the prosecutor and judge that you shouldn't be convicted of a strike. Instead, you should be given a break.

Seeking a Reduced Charge

For example, if someone commits a Penal Code 211 PC robbery – let's say it's an Estes robbery where, during their escape, they use force or fear against one of the store employees.

It can be argued that instead of being charged as a robbery, it could be charged as a Penal Code 487(c) PC, a grand theft person. 

That's not a strike.  It can be reduced to a misdemeanor later on.  It can also be expunged or dismissed from your record.  So, that would be an excellent example of a strike being filed against you but your attorney being able to negotiate a better deal.

Review of Criminal Background

Next, in the process of potentially getting rid of a strike in a California criminal case, we're going to have to look at your background:

  • Do you have any prior strikes?
  • What is the current crime?
  • What did you do?
  • Did you injure some victims?
  • Is someone out of much money?

Those are the most significant things that prosecutors are looking at in trying to determine whether or not someone should have to plead guilty to a strike. 

Also, from a defense standpoint, we'll get character letters and letters from your job, showing that you are a good citizen and deserve a break as it relates to this strike that's being charged against you.

Strike a Strike

On the other hand, let's say you have a prior strike and are now charged with a new offense that triggers the three-strikes law. Either you'll have to have your sentence doubled because you have just one prior strike, or maybe you're facing 25 to life because you have two prior strikes.

Now we're trying to get those strikes stricken so that you do not have to plead guilty and have one or more strikes used against you. So we will look at the prior cases that you pled guilty to. How old are those cases? 

If they're far away or remote, that gives you a better chance to get the strike stricken, and then, of course, we're going to look at the facts and circumstances surrounding that case. 

Mitigation Package

Maybe you were very young when that occurred, and now you're older and deserve to be given a break.

Three Strikes Law in California

It's the same thing we will do with the mitigation package. Again, it's a multi-prong attack.  We've got to look at the current offense.  We have to look at the prior crimes.  We've got to look at your criminal history. 

Remember, the three strikes law is designed to remove career offenders who commit crimes repeatedly and have a substantial criminal record. 

That's what the three strikes law was meant to enforce.  So, if you don't have that scenario, you've only got a couple of convictions in your past, then that puts you in a much better position than those with a very lengthy criminal record.

So, if you need the best, you've come to the right place.  I've been doing this now for over 30 years.  I've been handling third-strike cases since the early 1990s. So, pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand ready to help. 

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