three strikes law

Learning More About the Three Strikes Law in California

If you live in California, you’re most likely aware of the Three Strikes Law and how it has impacted the state’s legal landscape. And, if you’re facing a charge, you might wonder how the law will affect your case and even your future. This isn’t really surprising since, from 1994 to 2012, California’s Three Strikes Law was considered to be one of the harshest in the country.


Inception of the Three Strikes Law

Washington was the first U.S. state to pass a Three Strikes Law in 1993, but California quickly followed suit in 1994. The law received overwhelming support from Californians, with 72 percent of voters in favor of the law and only 28 percent against it.


The law was initially called “Three Strikes and You’re Out”, in reference to the fact that a repeat offender who has been convicted of three serious or violent felonies will automatically receive a life imprisonment sentence.


Why California’s Version Is Unique

The Three Strikes Law is not unique to California. As mentioned above, Washington has its own version of the law, as well as 26 other states like Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Connecticut. However, California’s version of the Three Strikes Law stands out because of several reasons.


For one thing, the Californian law has a longer list of crimes that are considered as “violent” or “serious”, and many of those on the list are actually minor offenses. Most states consider rape, murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse, aggravated assault, and aggravated robbery as violent crimes, which is completely understandable. However, aside from these offenses, California’s Three Strikes Law also considers arson, burglary, drug possession, simple robbery, and firearm violations as “serious” or “violent”. This means that anyone who commits any of the latter will receive a strike, regardless of the fact that they have committed a relatively minor offense in comparison.


The Californian version of the Three Strikes Law also doesn’t consider the severity of the third strike, as long as it was the third offense that the person has committed. For example, if a repeat offender was previously charged of two violent or serious crimes, he will still receive a life sentence if he commits a third one — even it was a minor offense.


Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012

Studies have shown that California’s Three Strikes Law has led to the dramatic increase of prison population and to the life imprisonment of people who committed petty crimes and non-violent offenses. This paved the way to the modification of the law in 2012, called “A Change in the Three Strikes Law Initiative” but more commonly known as Proposition 36. It gained a lot of support from Californians, with 69.3 percent voting in favor of it and just 30.7 voting against it.


With the proposition in place, a repeat offender will only be given a Third Strike and a life imprisonment sentence if his third offense is a “serious or violent felony”. Additionally, those who were given life imprisonment under the old law but did not actually commit serious or violent crime will have their cases reviewed. This is to see if they could be released or at least given a shorter sentence.


Think You’ve Got a Strike?

Despite this reform, being charged with a strike — whether it’s your first, second, or third strike — is no laughing matter. If you’re facing a legal case and believe that it will bring a strike, get in touch with a knowledgeable and reliable attorney like Joel Lueck. With years of experience as a Criminal Defense Attorney, he can assist with bargaining for a lesser offense, reducing the severity of a sentence, and preventing a strike from being awarded.

DUI Lawyer

Accused of a DUI? Here’s Why You Need an Experienced Attorney

Being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is no joke. Depending on the severity of the case, you can end up paying large fines and/or spending months in jail. If you live in California, the problem doesn’t just stop there — being charged with a DUI will have serious consequences with your insurance, your employment opportunities, and your DMV records, not to mention your criminal record. Because of these, it’s imperative to hire a DUI lawyer ASAP.

But don’t just hire any DUI lawyer. If you want to get the lightest possible sentence or even have the charges dropped, you’ll want to hire someone who has years of experience in the legal field.


How Experienced Attorneys Stand Out

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with hiring new attorneys since they do understand the law. However, an experienced DUI lawyer will have an edge that inexperienced attorneys do not. For one thing, spending years on the job has helped them become more familiar with the court system, which means they know the ins and outs that will help you get great results on your case. They’ve also developed excellent plea bargaining knowledge and skills, which they can use to convince the prosecution to change your charge to a lesser offense.


An added bonus: an experienced DUI lawyer knows how to handle complicated administration procedures, which means there’s no need for you to deal with these steps (and the accompanying headaches) on your own.


What an Experienced Attorney Can Do for You

Obviously, anyone charged with a DUI will want their attorney to prove their innocence. However, you have to realize that it goes beyond that. When you have an experienced attorney by your side, you’ll have someone who will do the following:


Help you understand your case

If it’s your first time to be charged of a DUI, you might be confused and apprehensive about everything that you’re facing. A good lawyer will ensure you understand every facet of your case. This, in turn, will help allay your fears since you now have an idea of what will happen.


Review your case

Great attorneys know that the devil is in the details. Because of this, your lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case and find out if the state handled it properly or not. If there are mistakes (for instance, if the police pulled you over even when you didn’t violate a traffic rule), he will use it as a way to obtain a lesser offense for you or even prove you innocent.


Do plea bargaining on your behalf

Plea bargaining is essential if you’re in the “zone of uncertainty”. This includes having inconclusive field sobriety tests. Also, having a blood alcohol level of just 0.09 or 0.10 (the acceptable level is below 0.8). Not injuring someone, and showing no untoward behavior, may also fall into this “zone”. Having an experienced attorney means working with an expert who has an in-depth knowledge of plea bargaining and can help you change a DUI to reckless driving (which has less severe punishment).


Reduce your chances of going to trial

Many prosecutors hesitate to bring a minor DUI case to trial if they know they’re facing experienced and skillful attorneys. Simply having one by your side is already a huge boost to your case.


Help you bargain for less intensive sentences

Even if you plea guilty, your attorney can still help you with sentence bargaining. This can help reduce the length of time you’ll spend in prison and/or the amount of fines you must pay.

Need an Attorney? Call Us Today!

Having an experienced attorney can make all the difference in your case. Fortunately, if you’re based in Kern County, you don’t have to look far since Joel Lueck can help. With his years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, he can provide you with the excellent legal assistance you need for your DUI case.