WHAT IS THE THREE-STRIKES LAW?

Have you been arrested or even just questioned by the police for a violent or serious crime, such as murder, manslaughter, carjacking, kidnapping, or robbery?

Many people make a big mistake. They think that just because they are innocent, they don’t need the best criminal defense lawyer.

The Court system is designed to be “adversarial”. This means the District Attorney represents the government, not you. He has no obligation to tell you if there are holes in his case or weaknesses in the evidence. If the police violated your rights or made mistakes, the DA won’t tell you that a motion to suppress evidence or even to dismiss the case is appropriate.

The Judge can’t take sides, so he or she can’t tell you what to do either. The only person in the system who is on your side is your defense attorney. So YES, you do need the best criminal defense lawyer.

You should also know that if you let the Judge appoint the Public Defender, then the Judge must order you to reimburse the county based on your ability to pay. You will be ordered to appear in Court and waste many hours away from work and family. In addition, the Public Defender is under a lot of pressure to get rid of cases. They work for the government just like the District Attorney. We don’t have that pressure and so we can do whatever is best for you.

Our goal is to get the case dismissed or reduced. No one can predict the future, but we have a lot of success stories and just a few of them are on our web site. If you don’t hire us, you will never know if your case could have been dismissed or reduced.

WHY IS THIS A SERIOUS PROBLEM?

All felonies are a serious problem, but “strike” felonies have some unique features. In California, we classify felonies as being a “strike” or a non strike.

There are two types of strikes: serious or violent. There are two lists in the Penal Code which tell you what is a serious and what is a violent felony, and therefore is a strike. Caution: some crimes are on both lists.

The reason a strike is so significant is because of future consequences. It is too complex to explain in this short article, and every case is unique, but the basic idea is that if you have a strike conviction in your past, and you pick up a new felony case, then there can be devastating consequences relating to the new felony.

If you have one prior strike, the sentence is doubled, and you are not eligible for probation, and you cannot earn the normal half time in prison.

If you have two or more prior strikes, depending on the new charge, you might face a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years before you are eligible for parole.

For all felonies, you will face the consequences noted above for the one prior strike situation.

Pursuant to Penal Code 2933.1 if you are convicted of a violent felony, you will not be eligible for “half time” on your custody time. You must do at least 85% of your sentence even if this is your first offense.

So what exactly is a violent felony? Here is a list.

What exactly is a serious felony? Here is a list.

If you are not a citizen, you can be deported, even if you are a “Lawful Permanent Resident” and have a “Green Card.”

There will be a lifetime ban on owning or possessing firearms and ammunition. (This consequence is very tricky. The rules under state law are different from the rules under Federal law.)

WHAT ARE POSSIBLE DEFENSES?

Each case is unique, but there are two sides to every story. Attorney Mark Cantrell has licensed private investigators who will perform an independent investigation to find evidence to help you.

A strategy might be to negotiate a plea bargain for a less serious charge. For example, grand theft instead of robbery.

If you have a prior strike, and you are facing a new felony, the Judge has the power to dismiss the prior strike for purposes of sentencing on the new felony. This is referred to as a “Romero Motion.”

WHY SHOULD YOU CALL US IMMEDIATELY? 

Many people are surprised to learn that the police are allowed to lie to the suspect in an attempt to obtain a confession or incriminating statements. This is just one more reason it is foolish to talk to the authorities. If you are under investigation call us immediately so we can protect you.

Sometimes the police will do what is called a “ruse phone call.” The alleged victim will call you on the phone and make statements about what happened and try to get you to make admissions. Do NOT talk to the alleged victim or to anyone else about the case. The police are recording the call and many times defendants will say something just to try to smooth things over and those statements will later sound very incriminating.

Mark Cantrell is well known in the Riverside criminal defense community as a trial attorney with many successful cases to his credit. When you visit his office, he will be proud to show you newspaper articles about his cases - not paid advertisements.

The biggest mistake an accused person can make is to retain an attorney who does not do trials. The District Attorney has no reason to compromise and give you a break if your attorney is known as a “plea bargain” attorney.