In every state of the United States, murder is a crime with a few exceptions. These exceptions are typically for people acting in self-defense or protecting others from violence. Once someone has committed their third violent crime and has been convicted of it, even if they have yet to be tried for their second offense, that person is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. When a person is convicted of their third violent crime, it is referred to as “strike three.” The purpose of this law is to keep repeat offenders off the streets and in prison.

This law plays a role in many cases where people who have been convicted several times of crimes such as rape and murder are put in prison. This has been the subject of debate throughout the nation since its inception, causing a great deal of controversy and discussion for many people. At the time this law was created, modern technology had not advanced to the point where it was possible to sentence people to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

What is the California Three Strikes Law?

The three strikes law of California states that a person who has been convicted of committing one or more crimes is sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The purpose of this law was to keep repeat offenders off the streets and in prison. The three strike law in Los Angeles was created in 1994 after a twenty-five-year-old man raped and murdered two women at gunpoint in Los Angeles. He was given three strikes, one for each crime.

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There are several parts to the California three strikes law, including the definition of the crimes and the penalties. The crime of “felon in possession of a firearm” is a felony that carries with it a lengthy sentence if convicted. Each felony that is charged will result in that person being sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as long as they have not been pardoned by the Governor of California or sent to prison for other charges.

This law also states that if their third strike is a crime of violence, they must serve the full sentence. The only way they will be eligible for parole is if there are physical problems that prevent them from committing a crime again. If a person commits a crime that is not considered violent, then they are eligible for parole after serving their first two sentences.

Which Crimes are “Strikes” under the Three Strikes Law?

Under the three strikes law, These are five specific crimes that a person can be charged with committing, which would result in a life sentence. These include:

Murder: This crime is referred to as the first strike and is a crime that is committed with the intent of killing someone. These crimes include intentional murder, attempting to murder someone, and assault with intent to commit a violent offense.

Attempted murder: This crime is called a second strike and crimes that were committed with the intent of killing someone. The intent is to kill or inflict substantial bodily injury.

Rape: This crime is called a third strike and is a violent offense that results in the offender being charged with rape. The rape must have been committed against someone where there was the use of force, violence, or threat. There are also instances in which there may not have been a physical force, but that does not mean the victim did not feel threatened or afraid.

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Kidnapping: This crime is referred to as a second strike and involves taking someone away from their home or one place to another against their will.

Carjacking: This crime is referred to as a second strike and involves carjacking, which means stealing a car using violence or the threat of violence. This crime uses force, violence, or threat to move the victim.

What Amendments Has California Made to the Three Strikes Law Since Enactment?

There have been several amendments made to the three strikes law since it was implemented. These amendments were meant to address some of the concerns of the individuals who were being sent to prison for life. The main concern was that there were not enough rehabilitation programs available for people in prison, which resulted in many of these individuals re-offending and returning to prison after they had served their time.

The first amendment was concerned with sentencing enhancements and penalties. The second amendment was concerned with violent crime sentencing enhancements. This amendment was implemented because there were some people who were being charged with multiple counts of the same crime and would be sentenced repeatedly. The third amendment was concerned with the language of the law.

There was a statement in the law that stated that defendants would receive a mandatory sentence of twenty-five years to a life sentence if they committed three strikes against a single person within seven years.


The state of California has made several amendments over the years to the law. The state wants to keep repeat offenders off the streets and behind bars where they belong. With California’s long history of crime, it is no surprise that this law was put into place. There are some people who may feel that after someone has been convicted on multiple charges that it is time for them to be placed somewhere where they cannot hurt anyone else. This law was put into place to make sure that repeat offenders are out of society for a long period of time, and that is still the goal.

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