The Three Strikes Law in California

Steal a Pizza - Get Life in Prison!

It could happen to you. It did happen to Jerry DeWayne Williams, who was convicted for stealing a single slice of pepperoni pizza from a group of children. He received a third strike sentence because he had two prior felony strike convictions.

Jerry Williams was sentenced to life in prison after pinching the pizza...because he had a history of robbery, attempted robbery, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and possession of a controlled substance. Making off with the slice was petty theft, but, because of California state law and Williams' earlier convictions, the crime was classified as a felony.

Three Strikes Law

Under the California Three Strikes Law - also known as "Three Strikes and You're Out Law" - those who have been convicted of two or more prior strikes face a life term sentence for the third felony conviction-even if the third felony conviction is not a strike. Those defendants who have been convicted of a prior strike must be sentenced to prison for twice the determinate term or twice the minimum for the indeterminate term.

The Three Strikes Law in California is harsh. This law is a tough-on-crime law that increases punishments for repeat offenders. In addition to lengthening prison sentences the Three Strikes Law also reduces prison credits for good behavior. The Three Strikes Law's passage was based on the belief that it would protect Californians from violent repeat offenders who belong behind bars.

Examples of serious or violent "strikes":

  • Murder or Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Mayhem (serious and deliberate injury that disfigures or disables a person)
  • Rape
  • Sodomy by Force
  • Oral Copulation by Force
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child under 14 years of age
  • Any Felony Punishable by Death or Imprisonment for Life
  • Any Felony using a Firearm or Inflicting Great Bodily Injury (GBI)
  • Robbery
  • Exploding any Device with Intent to Murder or Injure
  • Grand Theft involving a Firearm
  • Attempted Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child
  • Carjacking with a Deadly Weapon
  • Offering to or selling, furnishing, administering, or giving, to a minor any heroin, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), or any methamphetamine-related drug
  • Assault by a life prisoner on a non-inmate.

Los Angeles Three Strikes Attorneys

The criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners have more than 70 years of combined criminal experience. We are tough, aggressive, and experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers who believe that all defendants, no matter what the accusation, are entitled to a thorough and aggressive defense. "Strike" offenses are very serious and defending against them can be complicated. In California the stakes are high when the accused is facing any "strike" offenses. Some inexperienced lawyers will plead these cases without a fight. Our committed legal team will do the following:

  • Aggressively evaluate all the evidence to determine as quickly as possible whether to prepare a defense for trial, or prepare to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor or judge to cancel a strike (striking a strike).
  • Conduct legal research on prior strike convictions to determine if there could be a basis for questioning and attacking their validity.
  • Prepare a "Statement in Mitigation" to argue for a reduced sentence, for review by the District Attorney's Office Strike Committee.
  • Prepare a Romero Motion asking the sentencing judge to cancel a prior "strike" conviction.

As dedicated criminal defense attorneys we take pride in our work, and our results reflect our commitment and dedication to our clients. Our skilled attorneys have helped many clients receive dismissals, acquittals, probation, or reduced penalties.

If you have been arrested for or charged with a crime that could potentially be a "third strike" or a "strike" under California's Three Strike Laws, you need to call us today to set up a FREE consultation to examine the facts, discuss your particular circumstances, and how we may best represent you.

If you or someone you know is being charged with a "three strikes" offense; contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer immediately.