Three Strikes Law
In California, if you are convicted of certain serious or violent felonies, you will have a strike conviction on your record. What does this mean for you? It means that if you suffer a second felony conviction the time available for sentencing is doubled. If you have two prior strike convictions and suffer any subsequent felony conviction you can be sent to state prison for a term of 25 years to life. So, what is a strike conviction? The list of included felony convictions is included in Penal Code section 667.5 and 1192.7. The facts of the underlying conviction are of absolutely no relevance to the prosecutor filing the charges - if you have suffered a strike conviction, you can be sure it will be alleged in the charging document. It is up to your attorney to see if the strike can be removed.
When the three strikes law was first passed, there was very little that could be done to remove this sentencing enhancement. With the passage of time and court decisions beginning with People v. Romero, however, there has been improved court discretion to remove strike allegations for purposes of sentencing. This means simply that the accused person must admit the strike allegation and the court will not impose the sentence if certain conditions are met. Some of these conditions include the age of the strike prior, the facts underlying the strike prior, and the facts of the current underlying charge.
Now that California courts, including those in Orange County, have broader discretion to dismiss strike convictions, some prosecutors will dismiss the allegation in exchange for a guilty plea to the underlying offense. You will want to carefully consider with your attorney whether it in your best interests to do this. Sometimes the strike is dismissed because the underlying case is weak – the consequences of a conviction, however, merit giving this issue serious consideration in consultation with a qualified lawyer.
If you are charged with a felony and strike allegations, contact Orange county criminal law lawyer Edward Flores for a serious review of your options.
See New Orange County and California Laws for 2010
California Laws for 2009
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