California’s three-strike law is in place to give a higher classification to certain crimes that are considered more serious than others. This is a sentencing scheme that applies to individuals who have committed three violent or otherwise serious felonies, mandating a prison sentence of 25 years to life.
California is a state that’s quite protective of minors in general. Compared to other states, its policies are far more focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment when a minor has committed a crime. But for certain types of criminal acts, when the act was particularly violent or otherwise serious, the three-strike law is in place to ensure the safety of the public.
Which crimes count?
Juvenile crimes that apply to the three-strikes law can generally be broken down into two categories: violent felonies and serious felonies. As always with legal language, the wording is highly important and something to pay careful attention to.
Common violent felonies include:
- Involuntary manslaughter
Common examples of serious felonies include:
- First-degree burglary
- Grand theft that involved the use of a firearm
- Sale of certain drugs to minors
It’s also important to keep in mind that a juvenile conviction only counts when the defendant was over 16 when they committed the crime. Otherwise, none of these rules may apply.
There are certain serious crimes that come with more serious consequences when committed repeatedly. Navigating the criminal justice system is daunting and often scary, but the process is made much more possible to cope with when you understand the crimes that apply to the three-strikes law. When you know what to prepare for, you’ll be better able to handle whatever comes next.