Serious or Violent Felonies:  

If you have been charged with a serious or violent felony offense in California, it is important to understand what you are up against. At best, you may receive formal probation with little to no jail time; however, in the worst case scenario, the consequences may include a lifetime behind bars in state prison. You could also lose your professional license, your job and your right to own a firearm. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you could also face deportation. For these reasons, you will need an aggressive defense.

     The Los Angeles criminal lawyers at Ace Law  have been defending the rights of criminally accused clients for more than 50 years combined. When you work with us, we will stand by you throughout every step of the process, thoroughly review the evidence against you, and do everything in our power to secure a favorable resolution on your behalf. We know just how damaging a felony conviction can be and that your life is on the line, so you can trust that we will work diligently to protect your freedom like it’s our own.

     Being convicted of a serious and violent felony offense anywhere in the United States can result in harsh penalties; however, California's three strikes law can make a felony conviction particularly devastating. This law, which is commonly referred to as the "three strikes and you're out" law, requires repeat felony offenders to serve increasingly severe sentences with each subsequent offense. In fact, someone who is convicted of their third serious or violent felony will automatically face 25 years to life. So it is absolutely important that you have the best legal defense team available fighting on your side.

Three Strikes Law:

     California's Three Strikes sentencing law was originally enacted in 1994. The essence of the Three Strikes law was to require a defendant convicted of any new felony, having suffered one prior conviction of a serious felony to be sentenced to state prison for twice the term otherwise provided for the crime. If the defendant was convicted of any felony with two or more prior strikes, the law mandated a state prison term of at least 25 years to life.

     On November 6, 2012 the voters approved Proposition 36 which substantially amended the law with two primary provisions:

     1. The requirements for sentencing a defendant as a third strike offender were changed to 25 years to life by requiring the new felony to be a serious or violent felony with two or more prior strikes to qualify for the 25 year-to-life sentence as a third strike offender; and

     2. The addition of a means by which designated defendants currently serving a third strike sentence may petition the court for reduction of their term to a second strike sentence, if they would have been eligible for second strike sentencing under the new law.

     Three strikes laws establish severe penalties for defendants with qualifying prior convictions, even those who aren’t charged with a third strike. Under many sentencing schemes, convictions for “serious” or “violent” felonies count as strikes. Determining what, exactly, qualifies as a serious or violent felony requires consulting the three strikes law in question.

     In California, for example, the three strikes laws list the offenses that qualify as serious or violent felonies. (Attempts to commit these crimes also qualify.) In addition, there are many crimes that, while not themselves listed in the three strikes laws, can become strikes because of the way in which defendants commit them (for example, seriously injuring a victim in the course of an assault).

     The following is just a sampling of felonies that are “violent,” “serious,” or both:

  • murder

  • voluntary manslaughter

  • rape

  • any felony in which the defendant personally causes great bodily injury

  • kidnapping

  • robbery

  • carjacking

  • selling drugs such as heroin and cocaine to a minor

  • any felony punishable by death or life imprisonment. (Cal. Penal Code §§ 667.5(c), 1192.7(c).)

     If you’re facing any kind of criminal charge, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. This is particularly true if you’ve been charged with or have a felony on your record. Only a knowledgeable lawyer can fully advise you of the applicable sentencing law and adequately protect your rights.

For a Complete List of Violent Felonies in CA: