In California, any felony charge is potentially very serious. A Newport Beach resident convicted of a felony could wind up spending months or even years in prison, depending of course on the nature of the charge. Additionally, fines, strict terms of probation and other penalties may apply. Finally, someone convicted of a felony could well spend a lifetime re-building her professional and personal reputation.

This state’s Three Strikes law can raise the stakes of a felony charge even higher. Although this famous, or infamous, law has been tempered in recent years, it still can land a person in a prison for the rest of his life.

The Three Strikes law is actually a detailed statute with some nuances and complications. As such, detailed questions should be directed to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

In general, however, someone who gets convicted of a felony after being convicted of a prior, unrelated felony of a serious nature, will face double the sentence he otherwise would have received had the conviction been for a first felony.

Furthermore, if a person has two prior felonies, and commits another serious felony offense, then she can be sentenced to life in prison and must receive at least a 25-year sentence.

Obviously, these sentence enhancements must be taken very seriously. If not, then a defendant could wind up having to spend the rest of his life, or decades, in jail. While every case is different, someone facing the consequences of the Three Strikes law will want to consider whether any defenses are available to the charge at hand. A strong defense could mean that a person can avoid a conviction altogether, plead to a reduced charge or otherwise avoid the worst consequences of a conviction.