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California Criminal 3 Strikes Law

If you have been accused of committing a crime that is considered a "strike crime," you are facing very serious charges, especially if you already have one or more strikes on your criminal record.

The three strikes law is a controversial law that has been in effect in California for over a decade. The law was passed in an effort to reduce crime throughout the state, by severely punishing repeat offenders who are convicted of serious crimes. When a person is convicted of a criminal felony in California he or she will receive a strike on their criminal record, and each strike will result in an additional legal consequences. A person convicted of a crime resulting in a second strike will have a lengthier prison term possibly twice the amount of time, than a person without a previous strike conviction. The outcome of a conviction that results in a third strike will typically be a prison term of twenty-five years to life. For a full text of the California Three Strikes Law Statute see below.

Listed below are a few crimes that upon conviction, may count as a criminal strike on an individual's criminal record:

Although the three strikes law is supposed to punish violent offenders, many non-violent offenders have been unjustly penalized for convictions of lesser crimes, including drug violations and theft. If you facing criminal charges in California for a strike eligible crime, contact Attorney Search Network for a referral to a pre-screen California Criminal Defense Attorney.

California Three Strikes Law Statute
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 667 of the Penal Code is amended to read:
667. (a) (1) In compliance with subdivision (b) of Section 1385, any person convicted of a serious felony who previously has been convicted of a serious felony in this state or of any offense committed in another jurisdiction which includes all of the elements of any serious felony, shall receive, in addition to the sentence imposed by the court for the present offense, a five-year enhancement for each such prior conviction on charges brought and tried separately. The terms of the present offense and each enhancement shall run consecutively.

(2) This subdivision shall not be applied when the punishment imposed under other provisions of law would result in a longer term of imprisonment. There is no requirement of prior incarceration or commitment for this subdivision to apply.

(3) The Legislature may increase the length of the enhancement of sentence provided in this subdivision by a statute passed by majority vote of each house thereof.

(4) As used in this subdivision, "serious felony" means a serious felony listed in subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7.

(5) This subdivision shall not apply to a person convicted of selling, furnishing, administering, or giving, or offering to sell, furnish, administer, or give to a minor any methamphetamine-related drug or any precursors of methamphetamine unless the prior conviction was for a serious felony described in subparagraph (24) of subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, to ensure longer prison sentences and greater punishment for those who commit a felony and have been previously convicted of serious and/or violent felony offenses.

(c) Notwithstanding any other law, if a defendant has been convicted of a felony and it has been pled and proved that the defendant has one or more prior felony convictions as defined in subdivision (d), the court shall adhere to each of the following:

(1) There shall not be an aggregate term limitation for purposes of consecutive sentencing for any subsequent felony conviction.

(2) Probation for the current offense shall not be granted, nor shall execution or imposition of the sentence be suspended for any prior offense.

(3) The length of time between the prior felony conviction and the current felony conviction shall not affect the imposition of sentence.

(4) There shall not be a commitment to any other facility other than the state prison. Diversion shall not be granted nor shall the defendant be eligible for commitment to the California Rehabilitation Center as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 3050) of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(5) The total amount of credits awarded pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 2930) of Chapter 7 of Title 1 of Part 3 shall not exceed one-fifth of the total term of imprisonment imposed and shall not accrue until the defendant is physically placed in the state prison.

(6) If there is a current conviction for more than one felony count not committed on the same occasion, and not arising from the same set of operative facts, the court shall sentence the defendant consecutively on each count pursuant to subdivision(e).

(7) If there is a current conviction for more than one serious or violent felony as described in paragraph (6), the court shall impose the sentence for each conviction consecutive to the sentence for any other conviction for which the defendant may be consecutively sentenced in the manner prescribed by law.

(8) Any sentence imposed pursuant to subdivision (e) will be imposed consecutive to any other sentence which the defendant is already serving, unless otherwise provided by law.

(d) Notwithstanding any other law and for the purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, a prior conviction of a felony shall be defined as:

(1) Any offense defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 as a violent felony or any offense defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7 as a serious felony in this state. The determination of whether a prior conviction is a prior felony conviction for purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, shall be made upon the date of that prior conviction and is not affected by the sentence imposed unless the sentence automatically, upon the initial sentencing, converts the felony to a misdemeanor. None of the following dispositions shall affect the determination that a prior conviction is a prior felony for purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive:

(A) The suspension of imposition of judgment or sentence.
(B) The stay of execution of sentence.

(C) The commitment to the State Department of Health Services as a mentally disordered sex offender following a conviction of a felony.

(D) The commitment to the California Rehabilitation Center or any other facility whose function is rehabilitative diversion from the state prison.

(2) A conviction in another jurisdiction for an offense that, if committed in California, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison. A prior conviction of a particular felony shall include a conviction in another jurisdiction for an offense that includes all of the elements of the particular felony as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 or subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7.

(3) A prior juvenile adjudication shall constitute a prior felony conviction for purposes of sentence enhancement if:
(A) The juvenile was 16 years of age or older at the time he or she committed the prior offense.

(B) The prior offense is listed in subdivision (b) of Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or described in paragraph (1) or (2) as a felony.

(C) The juvenile was found to be a fit and proper subject to be dealt with under the juvenile court law.

(D) The juvenile was adjudged a ward of the juvenile court within the meaning of Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code because the person committed an offense listed in subdivision (b) of Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(e) For purposes of subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, and in addition to any other enhancement or punishment provisions which may apply, the following shall apply where a defendant has a prior felony conviction:

(1) If a defendant has one prior felony conviction that has been pled and proved, the determinate term or minimum term for an indeterminate term shall be twice the term otherwise provided as punishment for the current felony conviction.

(2) (A) If a defendant has two or more prior felony convictions as defined in subdivision (d) that have been pled and proved, the term for the current felony conviction shall be an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greater of:

(i) Three times the term otherwise provided as punishment for each current felony conviction subsequent to the two or more prior felony convictions.

(ii) Imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years.

(iii) The term determined by the court pursuant to Section 1170 for the underlying conviction, including any enhancement applicable under Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 1170) of Title 7 of Part 2, or any period prescribed by Section 190 or 3046.

(B) The indeterminate term described in subparagraph (A) shall be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment for which a consecutive term may be imposed by law. Any other term imposed subsequent to any indeterminate term described in subparagraph (A) shall not be merged therein but shall commence at the time the person would otherwise have been released from prison.

(f) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, subdivisions (b) to (i), inclusive, shall be applied in every case in which a defendant has a prior felony conviction as defined in subdivision (d). The prosecuting attorney shall plead and prove each prior felony conviction except as provided in paragraph(2).

(2) The prosecuting attorney may move to dismiss or strike a prior felony conviction allegation in the furtherance of justice pursuant to Section 1385, or if there is insufficient evidence to prove the prior conviction. If upon the satisfaction of the court that there is insufficient evidence to prove the prior felony conviction, the court may dismiss or strike the allegation.

(g) Prior felony convictions shall not be used in plea bargaining as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1192.7. The prosecution shall plead and prove all known prior felony convictions and shall not enter into any agreement to strike or seek the dismissal of any prior felony conviction allegation except as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f).

(h) All references to existing statutes in subdivisions (c) to (g), inclusive, are to statutes as they existed on June 30, 1993.

(i) If any provision of subdivisions (b) to (h), inclusive, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of those subdivisions which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of those subdivisions are severable.

(j) The provisions of this section shall not be amended by the Legislature except by statute passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, or by a statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors.

SEC. 2. This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:

In order to ensure longer prison sentences and greater punishment for those who commit a felony and have been previously convicted of serious or violent felony offenses, and to protect the public from the imminent threat posed by those repeat felony offenders, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.

Violent and serious felonies according to California statutes:

Violent felonies

  • Murder or manslaughter.
  • Mayhem.
  • Rape by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate bodily injury on the victim or another person.
  • Oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate bodily injury on the victim or another person.
  • Lewd act on a child.
  • Any felony punishable by death or life sentence.
  • Any felony resulting in great bodily injury or in which a firearm was used.
  • Robbery of an inhabited dwelling, vessel or trailer coach in which a deadly or dangerous weapon was used.
  • Arson that causes great bodily injury.
  • Penetration by a foreign object.
  • Attempted murder.
  • Explosion with intent to commit murder.
  • Out-of-state kidnapping transported to California.
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Serious felonies

  • Murder or involuntary manslaughter.
  • Mayhem.
  • Sodomy by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate bodily injury on the victim or another person.
  • Oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace or fear of immediate bodily injury on the victim or another person.
  • Lewd or lascivious act on a child under the age of 14 years.
  • Any felony publishable by death or imprisonment for life.
  • Any other felony in which the defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person or personally uses a firearm.
  • Attempted murder.
  • Assault with intent to commit rape or robbery.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon or instrument on a peace officer.
  • Assault by a life prisoner on a non-inmate.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon by an inmate.
  • Arson.
  • Exploding a destructive device or any explosive with intent to injure.
  • Exploding a destructive device or any explosive causing great bodily injury or mayhem.
  • Exploding a destructive device or any explosive with intent to murder.
  • Burglary of an inhabited dwelling, house or trailer coach as defined by the Vehicle Code or inhabited portion of any other building.
  • Robbery or bank robbery.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Holding of a hostage by a person confined in a state prison.
  • Attempt to commit a felony punishable by death or life imprisonment.
  • Any felony in which the defendant personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon selling, furnishing, administering, giving or offering to sell, furnish administer or give to a minor, heroin, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), a methamphetamine-related drug, or a precursor of methamphetamine.
  • Any violation of subdivision (a) of Section 289 where the act is accomplished against the victim's will by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person.
  • Grand theft involving a firearm.
  • Any attempt to commit a crime listed in this subdivision other than an assault.
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child.

 

Finding the right California Three Strikes Criminal Lawyer could be a very complicated task. The American Bar Association and The State Bar of California have approved Attorney Search Network (ASN) to provide you with FREE, no-obligation criminal defense lawyer referral services (#113)

If you of someone you know has been accused of murder, you or that person need inmediate assistance. Call us or click here to find a qualified criminal defense attorney in your area.

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