The Three Strikes Law in California

Three Strikes And You’re Out

Under California’s Three Strikes Law, defendants convicted of two or more previous strikes face a lifetime sentence for the third felony conviction – provided that the third offense is serious, violent, or another type of qualifying charge. Convictions occurring prior to the enactment of the three strikes law do apply, if the current felony offense was committed after enactment of the law. Juvenile convictions can also count as strikes, in instances where the person was at least 16 years of age when the offense occurred. Defendants convicted of a prior strike must be sentenced to prison for twice the determinate term, or twice the minimum for the indeterminate term.

The Three Strikes Law is harsh, tough-on-crime legislation that increases punishments for repeat offenders. Not only does it lengthen prison sentences, it reduces prison credits for good behavior. Passage of the law was based on the belief that it would protect Californians from violent repeat offenders who belong behind bars.

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Examples Of Violent StrikesSan Diego criminal defense lawyer gregory garrison

  • Murder, Attempted Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Grand Theft Involving a Firearm
  • Carjacking with a Deadly Weapon
  • Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 14
  • Any Felony Punishable by Death or Imprisonment for Life
  • Robbery
  • Exploding any Device with Intent to Murder or Injure

Three Strikes Attorneys

Criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Gregory Garrison have decades of legal experience – and are prepared to mount an aggressive defense on your behalf. Strike offenses are serious, demanding an experienced and committed defense. Our legal team will do the following:

  • Aggressively evaluate all of the evidence to determine if we should prepare a defense for trial, or attempt to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor or judge to cancel a strike. We will consider the severity of the crime, the strength of the evidence, and the prospects of a guilty verdict at trial when deciding whether to prepare a defense or attempt a negotiation.


  • Conduct legal research on prior strike convictions to determine if there is a basis for attacking their validity. For example, certain out of state criminal convictions alleged to be strikes might not count as strikes under California law.


  • Prepare a Statement in Mitigation to argue for a reduced sentence, for review by the District Attorney’s office. Mitigation includes any circumstances that significantly affect or affected the defendant’s character and behavior, as related to the offense. A Statement in Mitigation presents information about any mitigating factors, and argues the case for the judge imposing a mitigated sentence.


  • Prepare a Romero Motion requesting that the sentencing judge cancel a prior strike conviction. California judges have discretion to dismiss actions in furtherance of justice. To do so, the judge must consider both the right of the defendant to be free from cruel and unusual punishment – and the interest of society in having prosecutors pursue cases against alleged criminals. With this motion, we can ask the court to reexamine the earlier cases, in order to reconsider the earlier crime in light of your behavior since the crime took place.


At The Law Office of Gregory Garrison, we take pride in our work, and our results are a reflection of the commitment and dedication we feel toward our clients. Our skilled legal team has assisted numerous clients with dismissals, acquittals, probation, and reduced penalties.

If you’ve been arrested for – or charged with – a crime that could potentially be a third strike under California’s Three Strikes Law, you should contact a San Diego criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Gregory Garrison immediately for a free consultation.

(619) 615-4216

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