Strike Offenses (Three Strikes)
California Strike Offenses
California’s “three-strike” law is one of the harshest
sentencing regimes in the country. A prior “strike” on your
record increases the length of the sentence for a subsequent crime. The
later crime doesn’t need to be a “strike” or even a
violent offense for the harsher sentencing regime to take effect.
It must be a felony or a “wobbler” – a crime that is
sometimes charged as a felony and sometimes as a misdemeanor. A straight
misdemeanor conviction will not be subject to the strike sentencing rules,
but judges are likely to award a less lenient sentence for those with
prior convictions. Our
criminal attorney in Ventura may provide the legal solutions you need against a strike offense!
Contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Welch to learn more!
Which crimes are Strikes?
Strikes are defined as “serious” or “violent” felonies.
These include the obvious: murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, attempted
murder, etc. What you might not know is that the strikes law also includes
criminal threats, lewd acts on a child under 14, great bodily injury,
robbery, extortion, explosives-related offenses, dissuading a witness,
any felony where the defendant used a dangerous or deadly weapon and many
more. Whether an offense is a “strike” depends on the specific
code section being charged. You can use your
free consultation to determine whether you or someone you love is charged with a strike
offense. Mr. Welch has helped many clients to beat strike allegations.
In one case, he represented a client facing his third strike for domestic
violence and had all charges dismissed.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a strike offense, it is
important to seek legal help immediately. Even a single “strike”
will result in harsher punishments for the rest of an offender’s
life. This is true even for juveniles. A not-guilty verdict or a favorable
plea agreement may prevent a lifetime of worry. In cases involving a strike
allegation, it is particularly important to hire an attorney with previous
experience handling strike cases.
For those who have already been convicted of a strike offense, a new felony
charge creates major challenges only an experienced attorney can handle.
A guilty verdict will result in double the prison term. Additionally,
a strike prior affects how many good conduct credits you can receive while
in prison, so both the sentence and actual time served will be much longer.
This is true even if the strike offense was committed in another state
or as a juvenile. Fortunately, there are several things an experienced
attorney like Mr. Welch can do.
Some examples are:
- Negotiating with the district attorney to dismiss the strike allegation.
- Moving to “strike-the-strike” in the interest of justice.
- Winning at trial, making sentencing concerns irrelevant.
For an offense as serious as a second strike, make sure your attorney has
real experience and a winning record.
Any felony conviction with two strike priors will result in a minimum sentence
of 25 years to life. That sentence will be served with limited good behavior
credits. It is important to fight not only the third strike, but also
any strike to avoid this dire outcome.
After the Third Strike
If you are convicted of a third-strike offense and an extremely harsh sentences
is imposed, you may be a good candidate for appeal under the 8th Amendment.
The home-court advantage is particularly important in strike cases. You
will want an attorney with inside knowledge and experience in your county.
Someone who knows what to expect from the jurors and the district attorneys
in your county is crucial to achieving the best result possible.
Chris Welch not only knows the law, he has worked extensively with Judges and District
Attorneys in Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties.
Contact our Ventura criminal defense attorney today for counsel.