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3-Strikes Law in a Nutshell

The 3-Strikes Law

Demonstration at Long Beach

The 3-Strikes Law in a Nutshell:

If a person commits any felony after March 7, 1994 and:

If the person has one previous "violent" or "serious" felony conviction (which includes burglary of an unoccupied dwelling), he or she is sentenced to twice the term prescribed by law for each new felony (and must serve at least 80% of the sentence).

If the person has two previous violent or serious felony convictions, he or she is sentenced to a life sentence with the possibility of parole. The minimum term of the life sentence is calculated as the greater of the following:

a. Three times the term otherwise provided

b. 25 years

c. The term determined by the court pursuant to other applicable sentencing provisions of existing law.

The definitions for "violent" and "serious" felonies differs based on whether the "current" conviction was committed prior to March 8, 2000 (when Proposition 21 went into affect).

Also, the list for what can count as juvenile "violent" or "serious" offenses is slightly different from the above lists and was also changed by proposition 21.

Other mandatory provisions of 3-Strikes include:

A person previously convicted of a violent or serious felony, who is convicted of one or more new felonies, may not be granted probation by the court.

A person sentenced under 3-Strikes may not be committed to any facility other than prison.

A person sentenced under 3-Strikes may only receive sentence credits limited to a maximum of 20% of the total sentence.

For the purpose of determining prior felony convictions under 3-Strikes, a juvenile adjudication of a 16-year-old or 17-year-old who was found fit for juvenile court must be counted as a prior felony conviction.

3-Strikes prohibits plea bargaining.

3-Strikes eliminates any washout period, requiring that any prior serious or violent felony conviction be used regardless of how old it is.

Under 3-Strikes, the prosecuting attorney must plead and prove each prior felony conviction.

3-Strikes may only be amended by a 2/3 vote of the legislature.

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Date last modified: 6/19/00.

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