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.