California is one of the most heavily populated states in the country, and it has historically had one of the highest crime rates over the past several decades. In 1994, California state legislators took legal action in response to decades of gang violence, widespread drug distribution, and violent crime against citizens and enacted the three strikes law. This law was aimed at habitual offenders, citing public safety as its primary justification. Under the California three strikes law, once an individual is convicted of three felony offenses, they face 25 years to life in prison.
If you or a loved one has been arrested on felony charges, it is natural to worry about this law, especially if the defendant has a record of prior felony convictions in California. Even if you are not facing your third strike, a record of prior felonies will mean that the penalty for your second felony will be doubled. Additionally, if you are arrested on multiple felony charges, it is technically possible to face several strikes in a single case, potentially all three at once. Therefore, if you find yourself facing a felony conviction in California, it is vital to consult a Long Beach three strikes defense attorney as soon as possible.
Facing criminal charges of any kind can be highly distressing and alienating, especially if you have been wrongfully accused or if the prosecution is seeking the maximum possible penalties for your actions. In this situation, you need a defense attorney you can trust to help you navigate the complexities of your case and guide you to the best possible result. California’s three strikes law is unforgiving, and a second or third offense translates to significantly higher penalties for virtually all felony-level offenses.
The Law Offices of Henry Salcido understands how difficult it is to approach the California criminal justice system with confidence. However, our team has years of experience providing responsive and comprehensive criminal defense representation to our clients in Long Beach, CA, and we can put this experience to work for you. We will help you understand the charges against you, the potential penalties for conviction, and your best available options for defending against them.
California’s criminal code is quite different from the criminal codes of most other states. While most US states enforce rigorous definitions of criminal offenses and assign them misdemeanor or felony designations based on very carefully defined criteria, California’s criminal code has undergone significant changes over the past few decades. Many offenses are considered “wobblers” as they can “wobble” between the misdemeanor and felony levels based on several factors.
A few examples of criminal offenses that can potentially lead to misdemeanor or felony charges based on the specifics of the case include:
In any criminal case in California that pertains to a wobbler offense, the court will assess the aggravating and mitigating factors involved in the case to determine the best way to address the defendant. Aggravating factors are details that cause the court to lean more toward seeking a felony conviction, and mitigating factors are details that may cause them to lean in favor of seeking a misdemeanor conviction.
Your Long Beach three strikes defense attorney should focus on highlighting mitigating factors and countering aggravating factors in your case by leveraging available evidence. Depending on the type of charges you face, this may require calling the prosecution’s evidence into question, uncovering evidence that supports the defendant’s position, or securing eyewitness testimonies from people who saw the crime occur.
If you have a record of a felony conviction and face a second felony, it’s vital to fight the felony status of your offense as much as possible, securing a misdemeanor charge instead if at all possible. If you face your third felony charge and the California Three Strikes law is likely to come into play, it is even more crucial to form the most vigorous possible defense to avoid 25 years to life in prison.
One of the best options for any defendant in a three strikes case is the Romero motion, named after the 1996 People v. Romero case. With a Romero motion, the defense seeks approval from the judge to “strike” a prior felony conviction down to misdemeanor status, thereby preventing the defendant from facing their third strike. Success with a Romero motion can potentially mean the difference between a felony and misdemeanor conviction, ultimately leading to a much lighter sentence for the defendant if they are convicted.
Aside from the Romero motion option, defending yourself against felony charges will follow the same basic principles as any other felony criminal case. The burden of proof rests with the prosecution in any criminal case, meaning the prosecutors must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your Long Beach three strikes defense attorney should do everything they can to prevent the prosecution from meeting this standard of proof. Some examples of how they may seek to accomplish this include:
When you choose the Law Offices of Henry Salcido to represent you in a California felony case, these are just a few of the ways we can potentially support you. Our team has extensive experience handling complex criminal cases, including those that seemed hopeless at first. We understand that you may feel lost, uncertain, and overwhelmed by your current situation, and our goal is to provide the clarity and understanding you need to face the California criminal justice system with as much confidence as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Henry Salcido today to schedule your consultation with a reliable Long Beach three strikes defense attorney.