In California, the three-strikes law is a significant legal measure designed to deter repeat offenders. This law states that if a person commits a third serious or violent felony, they face a much harsher sentence — potentially 25 years to life in prison.

It was created with the intention of keeping habitual offenders off the streets and reducing crime rates. The law applies after a person has been convicted of two serious or violent felonies, meaning the third strike could lead to a severe increase in prison time. It is essential for anyone facing charges under this law to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Riverside, CA.

Read on to learn about the role of a criminal defense lawyer in three-strike offense cases.

Analyzing Prior Strikes

When reviewing prior strikes, criminal defense lawyers in Riverside, CA, carefully examine the client’s past serious or violent felonies. They look at the details of past cases to see if they were fairly charged and if they should truly count as strikes.

If something seems wrong or unfair about past convictions, the lawyer may challenge them. This is important because if a past strike can be removed, the client might not be penalized as harshly for their current case.

Challenging Prior Strikes with a Romero Motion

When someone is facing a tough sentence under the three-strikes law, lawyers have a method to help. It’s called a Romero Motion.

This motion asks a judge to dismiss one or more of the prior strike convictions. This can result in a lighter sentence for the current case and could even lead to avoiding a third strike altogether.

To succeed with a Romero Motion, the lawyer must present evidence that demonstrates why the previous strikes should not count towards the current case. Common reasons include:

  • The strike was not a serious or violent felony.
  • The strike resulted from a legal error.
  • There are mitigating circumstances that justify dismissing the strike.

By carefully reviewing and analyzing the prior strikes, criminal defense lawyers can effectively use a Romero Motion to challenge them and potentially reduce their client’s sentence.

Negotiating with the District Attorney

In the three-strikes system, lawyers have a strategy to protect their clients from the harshest penalties. They can talk with the District Attorney (DA) to change the charges. The goal is to have charges filed as something other than a strike offense, which is often possible for lesser crimes that aren’t violent or very serious.

By negotiating, lawyers work to achieve a fair outcome that doesn’t add unnecessary strikes to their clients’ record, which can make a big difference in the sentence they face. For someone with two strikes already, this negotiation can be the difference between a regular punishment and life in prison.

Ready to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Riverside, CA?

Facing a third-strike offense is undoubtedly serious, and the consequences can be severe. It’s essential to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to navigate these challenging cases successfully. Contact Empire Law today for expert assistance in fighting a three-strike offense.