Three Strike Rule

Charged with a felony and prior strikes on your record?

Having a prior strike greatly impacts the case for the simple reason it gives the DA greater leverage in forcing a plea of guilty on the new offense, since the risk of going to trial on the new offense and losing is far too great – no probation, double the prison sentence, must serve 80% of the prison sentence imposed.

On these cases it is typical for the DA to offer the low prison term doubled – usually 32 months – assuming the new offense is a low-grade, non-violent felony. If the strike is fairly old – at least 10 years, sometimes the DA will agree to strike the strike for a plea of guilty on the new offense.

This does not mean that strike cases cannot be defended, it just means there is a greater element of risk involved in defending them. For one thing, the court has the discretion, established in the Romerocase, to set aside the "strike" at sentencing even over the DA's objection, if the strike is fairly old and imposing the strike sentence would result in a sentence disproportionate to the severity of the new offense.

On someone with two "strikes" the law requires a 25-to-life sentence, which is absurdly harsh if the new felony is a low-grade, non-violent felony. Usually in these cases the DA will be willing to strike one "strike" for a plea of guilty on the new case, but even that sentence can be too severe.

Obviously, if you have one or more strikes on your record, and are charged with a new felony, it is imperative that you seek competent counsel, as the stakes are very high.