The 'three strikes' law was implemented to keep habitual offenders in jail and away from the general public. If you have been convicted of three felonies, or 'three strikes', the prison sentencing you face will be much longer, from 15 or 25 to life. Texas is one of many states to enact a 'three strike' law, enforcing harsher punishments for those who have committed numerous crimes and are likely to do so again.
Which Convictions Are Considered a Strike?
The 'three strike' law applies to felonies that are considered serious or violent.
Crimes that this typically includes are:
- Child molestation
- The use of a weapon during a crime
- Crimes resulting in great bodily harm
- Crimes involving explosions
Under the 'three strikes' rule, an offender can serve a large jail sentence for a conviction that would normally not be punished as so. For example, if you were convicted of theft, normally your sentence would not be as harsh. But, if you are facing your third conviction, you could be facing many years in prison.
'Third Strike' Penalties Enforcement
Unlike California's strict enforcement of the 'third strike' law, Texas focuses on the classification in the penal code and enforces penalties based on the degree of severity for the current and prior felonies. This means that if a person is convicted of two first-degree felonies, their third conviction will be judged thusly. Even though Texas takes into account the penal severity of a conviction, first-degree felonies still get a minimum 15 year penalty, which can only increase with other penalties.
Some second or third convictions require life sentences due to their severity, such as:
- Indecency with a child
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
Despite the 'third strike' law being enforced in Texas, it is not guaranteed that you will face long jail sentences on your third offense. Due to overcrowding in prisons, tight budgets, or reliable strategies from experienced criminal defense lawyer, a judge might sentence a defendant for a state jail offense instead of a felony, meaning that the conviction doesn't count as a 'strike'.
If you are facing a 'third strike' conviction or would like more information about the penalties involved, contact my Fort Worth criminal defense law firm today!