Prop 36 & Changes To The Law

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How Proposition 36 Revises California’s Three-Strikes Law

California’s three-strikes law was passed in 1994. From the beginning, the unjust statute stirred tremendous controversy. While its intent was to incarcerate violent criminals, it resulted in putting nonviolent offenders behind bars for life, often for minor crimes. Voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 36 in November 2012 to correct the injustice inherent in the original three-strikes law.

Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP has vigorously defended many clients who faced the harsh consequences stemming from the habitual offender sentencing guidelines. Today, our lawyers tirelessly help inmates currently serving life terms obtain relief from the severe penalties originally imposed under the three-strikes rule. We also explain how the revised three-strikes law affects your individual case and devise a strategy to protect you from an unfair sentence.

Effects of Prop 36 on the three-strikes law

Proposition 36 did not overturn the three-strikes law, but it did significantly revise the law to make the sentencing guidelines more appropriate by:

  • Revising the original three-strikes law to mandate a life sentence only if the third strike is for a serious or violent felony
  • Authorizing courts to re-sentence offenders who are currently serving life sentences under the former guidelines
  • Continuing to impose a term of life in prison if the offender’s third strike is for certain crimes not classified as serious or violent, such as sex or drug offenses or crimes involving  a firearm
  • Maintaining a life term for offenders previously convicted of rape, murder or child molestation, even if the third strike is for a crime that is not serious or violent

Although the new law can still lead to excessive sentences — particularly for some possession of controlled substances offenses — Proposition 36 is an important step toward justice in the California judicial system.

Learn more about the recent changes in the three-strikes law in California

To discuss how the changes in the three-strikes law affect your sentencing options, call Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP at 888-579-4844 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. From our LA office, our firm handles criminal defense cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and surrounding counties.

Stephen Sitkoff

Stephen Sitkoff

Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney

Stephen Sitkoff is a partner at Sitkoff & Hanrahan who started his legal career as a deputy district attorney more than 30 years ago prosecuting cases throughout the LA criminal court system in Southern California.
Eugene Hanrahan@2x

Eugene Hanrahan

Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney

Eugene Hanrahan is both a former federal and county prosecutor and partner at Sitkoff & Hanrahan, LLP with two decades of criminal law experience. Mr. Hanrahan’s criminal defense expertise ranges from misdemeanors to serious, complex felony cases.
James Kim

James Kim

Senior Case Analyst

James possesses over a decade of legal experience and serves as the firm’s senior case analyst handling the initial calls from prospective clients.