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
Examples of serious or violent "strikes":
- Murder or Voluntary Manslaughter
- Mayhem (serious and deliberate injury that disfigures or disables a person)
- 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)
- Exploding any Device with Intent to Murder or Injure
- Grand Theft involving a Firearm
- Attempted Murder
- 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 Los Angeles
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"
As dedicated Los Angeles criminal lawyers, 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