January 4, 2024 By Wallin & Klarich

California’s Three Strikes Law: What You Need to Know 

The California Three Strikes Law, officially known as the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law, is a sentencing scheme that increases the punishment for repeat offenders. This law was enacted in response to highly publicized murders committed by violent felons who had previous convictions but were released from prison on parole.

Under this law, if a person is convicted of three felonies, they will automatically receive a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. The first two strikes can be any felony, but the third strike must be a serious or violent felony. This law also imposes stricter sentencing for second strikers, who will receive twice the normal sentence for their crime.

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free consultation!

Overview of the Three Strikes Law 

California’s Three Strikes Law is a punitive measure designed to deter repeat offenders. This law imposes a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life for anyone convicted of three felonies, with the third strike being a serious or violent crime. Despite the controversy surrounding its implementation, and criticisms of its disproportionate impact on certain demographics, supporters maintain that it’s instrumental in maintaining public safety by reducing crime rates. However, in the light of these criticisms, amendments have been made through Proposition 36, narrowing the scope of crimes that qualify as a third strike to serious or violent felonies. 

Purpose of the Three Strikes Law 

California passed the Three Strikes Law in an effort to deter convicted persons of repeating crimes as well as serve as a deterrent to prevent people from committing crimes in the first place. While this may have helped lower repeat offenders and deter would-be offenders, it can have a substantial effect on those who receive their third strike. It is important to know which crimes qualify for a strike and what the sentencing could look like with strikes on your record. 

What Crimes Qualify 

The California Three Strikes law applies to a broad range of felonies. On the first and second strikes, any felony conviction can count, including but not limited to burglary, drug offenses, and robbery. However, for a conviction to count as a third strike, triggering the mandatory 25 years-to-life sentence, it must be a serious or violent felony. This includes murder, rape, robbery, arson, any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life, any felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on any person, or any felony in which the defendant uses a firearm. Additionally, certain drug offenses, sexual offenses, and offenses involving explosives can also qualify as a third strike. It’s important to note that the list of offenses that can count as a third strike is not exhaustive, and courts have the discretion to determine if a crime qualifies.


Under the California Three Strikes Law, the sentencing is quite severe and is designed to deter repeat offenders. When a person is convicted of any felony and it is their first ‘strike’, the conviction goes on their record, but the sentence is not affected by the Three Strikes Law. However, if a person is convicted of a second felony, they are considered a ‘second striker’, and the sentence for their crime is automatically doubled. On the third ‘strike’, things get even more serious. If a third felony is committed and it’s classified as a serious or violent felony, the convicted individual faces a mandatory 25 years to life in prison. The implementation of this law makes California one of the states with the toughest sentencing policies for repeat offenders in the United States.

How a Defense Attorney Can Help

A defense attorney plays a crucial role when it comes to the California Three Strikes Law. They can help evaluate the facts of the case, interpret the law, and provide guidance on the best course of action. Given the severity of the law, a knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney can be the difference between a sentence that seems more fair and a prolonged jail term. They can challenge the legitimacy of the strikes, investigate if any constitutional rights were violated during the process, and present evidence that can potentially remove or reduce the charges. Furthermore, they can assist in negotiating plea deals or advocating for alternative sentencing, especially in cases where the ‘strike’ does not involve a violent or serious felony. A defense attorney’s understanding of the complexities of the Three Strikes Law can be pivotal in navigating the California criminal justice system. 

At Wallin & Klarich, you will never be left wondering what will happen next with your case. Our attorneys will help you through each step of the process, and figure out the best strategy for your case, which will help you get the best possible outcome. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are here to help you. We offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been accused of a crime that falls within the Three Strikes Law, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

Confidential Consult
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

SCHEDULE YOUR free consultation

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, this is the time to contact us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.