Defending Against Three Strikes Criminal Charges in California

If you have been charged with a crime in California and already have previous convictions in the state on your criminal record, it is imperative that you contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney.  California has a “Three Strikes” law that serves as a basis for enhanced punishments for repeat offenders.  While the law has been reformed to be less punitive than in the past, it still packs a punch and can be applied to dole out lengthy prison sentences to repeat offenders. What counts as a “strike” under the law is of great importance. An experienced attorney will work hard to either defeat the charges against you or argue that they should not rise to the level of a “strike” under California’s “Three Strikes” law. In other words, an experienced criminal defense attorney will work to either keep you out of jail altogether or minimize the length of the sentence. Your very freedom is at stake, so do not delay in securing the skilled legal representation you so dearly need.

A Skilled Attorney May File a Romero Motion to Lessen the Number of Strikes Against You

One of the potential tools in the arsenal of an experienced California criminal defense attorney is what is known as a Romero motion. The name comes from the 1996 case People v. Romero, and allows a judge to, when appropriate, cancel previous strike allegations and the reduce the duration of a prison sentence.  In the case itself, Romero – the defendant – was convicted of possession of cocaine. Ordinarily, conviction for this type of drug possession would result in incarceration of up to three years. However, because of California’s “Three Strikes” law, prior to its reform, Romero faced a much longer potential sentence – life in prison. This is because the law, in its original form, authorized life sentences even if an offender’s third “strike” was for mere drug possession. Romero already had strikes for separate burglary convictions – both classified as serious felonies under state law. The possibility of life in prison for a drug possession third strike did not sit well with the Romero judge, so he decided to take action to circumvent the harshness of the law. Using discretion granted to California judges to dismiss actions “in the furtherance of justice,” the Romero judge reclassified the defendant’s previous convictions as non-strike offenses. The effect was to make the possession offense a first strike rather than a third strike, and the defendant was sentenced to six years rather than life in prison.

A Skilled Attorney Will Know When to File a Romero Motion

As you can see, a Romero motion is potentially powerful resource of a skilled and experienced California criminal defense attorney. Judges care about justice, and use the limited right to dismiss actions in the furtherance of justice when it is genuinely appropriate. If you have been charged with a crime in the state and already have previous convictions on your criminal record, contact an experienced attorney today to mount the strongest possible legal defense.

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