Which Assault With A Deadly Weapon Case Is A Strike And Which Is Not In LA?
This is an interesting question. Since the three strikes law was enacted back in the early 1990’s, this question comes up all the time because a lot of people are lingering around with assault with a deadly weapon cases in Los Angeles, and as you know, if you know anything about the three strikes law, it’s retroactive – which basically means, they look all the way back to the end of time and if somebody’s got a strike – an assault with a deadly weapon for example – it’s going to be used against them. It doesn’t matter that the three strikes law wasn’t around at the time. It doesn’t matter that they weren’t told specifically they were going to have a strike in the future. The legislature has just decided they don’t care about that and if you’ve got an assault with a deadly weapon that qualifies as a strike, they’re going to use it against you. They’re going to double your sentence. If you have two strikes, you’ll be looking at twenty-five to life.
This is an important question and like I said, it comes up a lot. Really what it boils down to is a couple of things. Number one, if when you plead to it you’re told that it’s a strike and it meets the qualifications of strike, then obviously it’s a strike. That’s an easy one. But, there are cases where the person pled to it and the three strikes law wasn’t enacted so nothing was really indicated about it. What the deciding factor is in these assault with a deadly weapon case in Los Angeles is, whether or not the person actually admitted on the record that they used a weapon during the course of the case. If they did not admit that they used a weapon, then it is not a strike. If they did admit that they used a weapon, then it is a strike. And that’s pretty much as simple as I can explain it.
We have to look at what the case is, what the surrounding circumstances are, and then obviously do whatever research is necessary depending on your case. But, that kind of gives you a good idea, and it makes sense, doesn’t it? That if you used a deadly weapon and you’re convicted of a felony assault with a deadly weapon — that’s another requirement — it can’t be a misdemeanor, otherwise it’s not a strike. Strikes are only felonies. So, if you’ve been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and you admit that you used a weapon in the case, then that’s a strike, and obviously your sentence could be doubled and you could be looking at some significant time in prison.
I’ve had cases as they relate to assault with a deadly weapon in Los Angeles, where the client has pled to a felony – assault with a deadly weapon – so normally it would be a strike. The three strikes law wasn’t even around at the time, and then what ends up happening is, they do great on probation. They get a probationary sentence. They get their case reduced to a misdemeanor and then they get it expunged. Now, years later, here they are picking up a new felony and the prosecutors, all of a sudden, have charged it as a second-strike case. People are like, wait a minute. You can’t do that. I got it reduced to a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors can’t be strikes. I got it expunged off my record, or so I thought.
But the bottom line is this. That’s still a strike, because at the time that you pled to it, it was a strike. So, it always remains a strike. That’s the nasty thing about this three strikes law. It’s really designed to stop people who continue to commit crimes, from being able to get away with it. Basically, it’s targeting career criminals — people who just can’t stop committing crime. Those people are going to double-up, triple-up their sentences until the year they stop or they’re just in prison the rest of their life, and that is the mentality of the legislature, the prosecutors, the police and the judges when it comes to these assault with a deadly weapon cases.
So, if you have a question about an assault with a deadly weapon — you have a charge or you have a loved one who is charged — they’re looking at prison time, they’re scared — come and sit down with me. We’ll go over it. We’ll get if squared-up and we’ll figure out what the best approach is, what the best strategy is to get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.
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