Is There Anything I Can Do to Avoid a Three Strikes Penalty?
Being charged with a crime is never a welcome occurrence, but when you have a criminal record in the state of California, an arrest can have very serious implications for you. While California’s notorious Three Strikes Law has been modified in recent years, it has not been eliminated. Being charged with a crime that could qualify as a “strike” offense makes it even more imperative to contact a Ventura criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.
Three Strikes Basics
Under California’s Three Strikes Law, an individual who has experienced prior criminal convictions and is convicted of a new crime can incur mandatory longer sentences for that conviction, when the past convictions may be considered strikes. Convictions that can qualify as strikes include convictions for any felony involving violence, felonies with a gang enhancement, crimes where a firearm was used, convictions for violent crimes when the defendant was a juvenile, and out-of-state convictions.
Under the revisions to the Three Strikes Law passed by California voters in 2012, most of those convicted of a third strike offense will only receive the maximum statutory sentence (25 years to life) where all three felony convictions were for serious or violent felonies.
The best way to avoid a third strike conviction is to avoid conviction entirely, but another technique used by smart California criminal defense attorneys is that of filing a Romero motion. With a Romero motion, your attorney attempts to convince the judge that a past offense should not be considered as a strike for the purposes of enhancing a possible sentence in the current case. Your lawyer will attempt to use such factors as: the circumstances surrounding both the past and current offenses; your background and character; the disproportionality of the possible sentence to the crimes themselves; the fact that your criminal history is largely non-violent; and any influence of a substance addiction to argue that an offense should not count as a strike.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Southern California, make sure your rights are fully protected in court, and that you’re offered the best possible chance at a bright future by seeking out a compassionate and dedicated defense attorney, and contact Ventura DUI and criminal defense attorney Paul Tyler for a consultation at 805-889-9000.