California Third Strike Cases

Facing a Life Sentence for a Third Felony?

Need a lawyer for a third strike case in Los Angeles? Under California law, if you have two prior convictions which are serious felony offenses, you could be facing the possibility of 25 years-to-Life in prison upon conviction of any third felony offense. What's more, the third felony does not need to be a serious felony to qualify as the third strike. Further, a prior juvenile conviction can be used as one or more of the strikes against you.

A prior conviction counts as strike under "three strikes law" purposes if it was for a serious or violent felony. "Serious felonies" are listed in California Penal Code Section 1192.7 (c), and "violent felonies" are listed in California Penal Code Section 667.5 (c).

The California Three Strikes (3-Strikes) law became operative on March 7, 1994. Therefore, the current felony charge must have occurred after this date for the three strike law to apply. But the "strike priors" could have occurred at any time, even before March of 1994.

A juvenile "sustained petition" (the term for a conviction in juvenile court) counts as a strike under California three strikes law if three conditions are met:

  1. The conviction counts as a strike under the penal code definitions;
  2. The crime is listed in California Welfare and Institutions Code 707(b); and
  3. The person was at least 16 years of age when the offense occurred.

Under California Three Strike Law, a judge has the discretion to "strike" or throw out one or more prior strikes. The judge can do this before, during or after trial. A defense request for the court to dismiss a prior strike is called a "Romero Motion."

In deciding a Romero Motion, the court will consider the totality of the circumstances, including the nature of the current charge, how long ago the strike priors occurred, the underlying facts of the strike prior, and everything about the defendant's history.


Under California three strikes law, if a person is convicted of any second felony and he has one "strike" prior, the court must double the maximum prison term on the current conviction.


Most people are familiar with the California Third Strike Law. Now, under recent changes in the Law, certain offenses can be punished by life in prison even though you have no prior convictions. Many sex crimes and crimes involving the use of firearms are now punishable by life in prison on the first offense.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.