3 Strikes and You’re Out Law
In July 1995 Florida introduced the three-time violent felony offender law, or better known as the ‘3 Strikes’ law. This law was established to set minimum and consistent punishments for convicted repeat felony offenders. 28 states have adopted similar sentences for repeat crimes.
The public incorrectly assumes that the ‘3 Strikes’ law applies to any person who commits any type of crime 3 times in a given period. For a person to be convicted under this law, certain criteria must be met for it to be enforced. The criteria include:
- Violent felony crimes, such as murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, arson or felony DUI.
- All three felonies must occur separately.
- The person must be convicted of a felony, not just arrested and charged, and not pardoned.
- The third offense must be committed within 5 years of the last conviction.
The minimum sentences to be given are as follows:
If the 3rd offense is a:
- 1st degree felony, the minimum sentence is 30 years
- 2nd degree felony, the minimum sentence is 15 years
- 3rd degree felony, the minimum sentence is 5 years
Remember, this is the minimum sentence and the ruling judge can hand down a life time sentence as a maximum penalty. Because the judge is only mandated to rule on a minimum sentence and has leeway on the maximum punishment, some individuals’ feel this law can be wielded as cruel and unusual punishment; in California it was challenged because of this reason. The Supreme Court upheld the law but this has not stopped the concern of leniency towards some individuals and harsher penalties towards others based on gender, race, or prior appearances in front of the same judge.
It is extremely important to hire a top criminal defense attorney not only when the ‘3rd strike’ occurs, but before it gets to this point; each client needs someone that can review their case and fight on their behalf. The Law Offices of Travis Koon has offices in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami and Lake City, offering our clients several location options.
Hiring a top criminal defense law firm, such as The Law Offices of Travis Koon, can help ensure each person receives a fair trial and is not given a sentence beyond what the charge calls for. Any person that cannot afford to hire an attorney should always ask for a public defender, no one should enter the courtroom without the guidance of someone who has knowledge of the Florida law.