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The Three Strikes Law in California – How can it Impact my Criminal Case?

The Three Strikes Law, which was enacted when California voters approved Proposition 115 in 1994, is meant to impose severe punishment to those offenders who the courts consider to be “career criminals”-people who have committed and been convicted of 2 or more serious or violent felonies, and then go on to commit a third felony. That last felony does not need to be a serious or violent crime to constitute a third strike-it can be as minor as a petty theft charge with several prior theft convictions!

As a result of the three strikes law in California, some defendants have been given sentences of 25 years to life in prison for such crimes as shoplifting golf clubs (Gary Ewing, previous strikes for burglary and robbery with a knife), or, along with a violent assault, a slice of pepperoni pizza from a group of children (Jerry Dewayne Williams, previous convictions for robbery and attempted robbery, sentence later reduced to six years).

In California, first and second strikes are counted by individual charges rather than individual cases, so you can be charged and convicted of “first and second strikes.” Convictions from all 50 states and the federal courts at any point in the defendant’s past, as well as juvenile offenses if the defendant was age 16 or older that would otherwise be sealed, can be counted

In a 2011 Riverside Case, People V. Carl Franklin Ellison, a Wallin & Klarich attorney, after the jury trial, persuaded the judge to strike 3 prior strikes-for murder, kidnapping and robbery that Ellison had been convicted of 30 years earlier. Because of the actions of Wallin & Klarich, Ellison received 10 years in prison, instead of what the prosecutor demanded-77 years to life!

If you or your loved one has been accused of serious or violent felony charges that can be considered felony strike offenses in California, please contact your team of criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. We have over 30 years of experience representing clients facing all types of felony charges in Southern California. Please call us toll-free at 1-888-280-6839. We have offices in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, Victorville, and Ventura. We will be there when you call.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.