What is the “Three Strikes Law”?

What is the “Three Strikes Law”?

| Oct 14, 2016 | Violent Crimes |

When Maryland residents are convicted of committing a crime they may receive a prison sentence. Upon release from prison, they have paid their debt to society and usually try to go on with their lives in as productive a manner as possible, trying to put their past behind them. However, in Maryland and other states where the Three Strikes Law operates, a conviction for a previous felony may count towards increasing the penalty in future convictions.

According to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, if a convicted felon has been convicted in a federal court of committing a serious violent felony and already has two or more previous convictions in either a federal or a state court, of at least one which is a serious violent felony, then under law the next time the felon is convicted they receive a mandatory life sentence.

This means if someone has been has been convicted of committing a serious violent felony, such as murder, sex offenses, kidnapping or robbery, or an offense that is punishable by 10 years or more in prison, then the third time they are facing criminal charges they receive a mandatory sentence. Felonies that do not pose a threat to human life are excluded from the statute, but the burden lies on the defendant to prove this-the assumption is against the defendant.

It is important to fight criminal charges from the onset. The consequences of a conviction can be far-reaching and severe. It is important for Maryland residents to understand the options available to them. In addition to going through the legal system, it is also possible to negotiate a plea bargain in some instances.