If you have been accused of a felony crime in California, it is imperative to be aware of the Three Strikes Sentencing Law. Implemented in 1994, the Three Strikes Sentencing Law mandates that if a defendant is facing a second felony charge after previously being convicted of a felony, said defendant is subject to a prison term double the length normally recommended for the second felony.

Therefore, if you have previously been accused and charged with a felony and convicted, upon being convicted of a second felony your jail time will automatically double. Should you be accused, charged and convicted of a third felony with two prior “strikes” on your record, the minimum sentencing is automatically 25 years to life. This is the “third strike.”

However, in November of 2012, the Three Strikes Sentencing Law was modified. First, the “third strike” must specifically be a “serious” or “violent” felony in order for the courts to impose the mandatory 25 years to life sentence. Second, those who were currently serving a “third strike” sentence but would not have been sentenced as such under the new law were able to petition for their sentences to be reduced to the “second strike” sentence.

These are the offenses defined as “serious” or “violent:” robbery, murder, kidnapping, residential burglary, the majority of sex/molestation offenses, crimes involving a weapon, anything involving explosive devices, arson or any crime inflicting serious bodily injury. Any attempt to commit any of these offenses will also result in the “third strike” sentence.

This information is provided to educate you on the Three Strikes Sentencing Law but is not legal advice.