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What is the three strikes law?

Many New York residents are unaware of the ‘three strikes law’ and how it can affect their liberty. This is why it is important to have a strong criminal defense and not overlook this process. People facing criminal charges, whether felonies or misdemeanors, may benefit from having skilled professionals advising them of their rights, fighting on their behalf from the onset.

The three strikes law refers to provisions in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 that provide for mandatory life sentences for a certain category of convicted felons. In order to fall into this category, the convicted felon must have been convicted in federal court for a serious felony and have two or more previous convictions in either state or federal courts, one of which at least must have been a serious one.

A serious felony could be kidnapping, sex offenses, murder, manslaughter, robbery or any offense that is punishable by 10 years in prison or more and includes force or the threat of force. Some felonies are excluded by statute, such as unarmed robbery offenses that didn’t put human life at risk. However, the burden lies on the defendant to demonstrate that there was no threat of bodily injury or death. This means if the defendant does not prove this, it can count as a strike.

Understanding the law and how it is applicable to one’s situation is important when mounting an aggressive criminal defense to protect one’s rights. Given the severity of the three strikes law and the repercussions of multiple criminal convictions, exercising one’s right to a defense may be a prudent way to proceed.