The Three Strikes Law, or Habitual Offender Laws, are intended to impose harsher sentences to those who have been convicted of prior harsh offenses. These offenses are usually felonies and prior to 2012, California considered a misdemeanor as part of the three strikes law but changed it after Proposition 36 passed. In order for a conviction to qualify as a strike in California, it has to be considered a “serious felony” or a “violent felony” such as murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, gang offenses and many firearm offenses to name a few. Originally, when California enacted the law in 1994, it required a defendant convicted of any felony with a prior serious felony for prison time twice the amount of the original sentence.

If the defendant was convicted of any felony with two or more prior strikes, the law mandated a state prison time of 25 years. In 2000, voters passed Proposition 36 that scaled it back by providing a drug treatment instead of life in prison for most of the drug possession charges. In November, 2012, Proposition 36, was amended with two primary provisions. The first was that the strikes had to be considered serious or violent felonies instead of just misdemeanors. The second provision is that defendants currently serving a third strike sentence would be allowed to petition for a reduced conviction if they qualified for the second strike sentence.

There have been many views on the effectiveness of the law. For instance, since enacting the law, violent crime, especially homicide, dropped significantly in the Los Angeles area. In 2010, Los Angeles had a homicide count of 297, significantly less than what it was in 1992 of 1,000. However, a study conducted at UC Riverside suggests that violent crime began falling two years before the law was even enacted and much of it was due to a lower consumption of alcohol and unemployment.

In either circumstance, violent crime in California, and every other state, is a serious topic and if you find yourself being charged of a serious or violent felony when you’ve already been convicted of one before, make sure you contact an experienced attorney immediately.

There’s no substitute for a strong criminal defense attorney, call Wing & Parisi at (916) 441-4888.

Contact us online or call at (916) 441-4888 for a free and confidential initial consultation, available in Spanish. We appear in state and federal courts in the Sacramento and Davis communities as well as throughout Placer and San Joaquin counties.

Linda Parisi
Law Office of Wing & Parisi
917 G Street
Sacramento,CA,95814, USA
(916) 441-4888

The Law Office of Wing & Parisi serves clients in the Sacramento and Davis communities as well as throughout Placer County and San Joaquin County. Hablamos espanol.