Many states throughout the country operate under what is generically called a “Three Strikes Law.” Also known as habitual offender laws, these statutes state that a conviction for a previous felony may count towards increasing the penalty in future convictions.
In 1994, the State of Maryland amended its version of the three strikes law to provide for life in prison without parole for a fourth violent felony offense when prison terms have been previously served for the first three.
Simply put, if someone has been convicted of a violent felony or an offense that is punishable by ten years or more in prison, then the fourth time they are facing criminal charges they will receive the mandatory life sentence.
What Types of Violent Crimes Are Considered Strikes?
The purpose of habitual offender laws in Maryland is to drastically increase the punishment of those convicted of more than three serious crimes.
Serious violent felony crimes that fall under the statute include:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated robbery
- Sex crimes, including sexual abuse and rape
Felonies that do not pose a threat to human life are excluded from the strike statute.
However, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 states that under federal law, a person will receive a mandatory life prison sentence without the possibility of parole if they have three federal convictions for serious violent felonies or crimes relating to drug trafficking.
Violent Crimes Require Experienced Legal Representation From The Right Criminal Defense Lawyer
Repeat violent offenses carry very serious consequences. If you are being charged under a three strikes law in Maryland, it is important that you partner with an experienced and qualified criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights while pursuing the best outcome for your unique circumstances.
Contact our Maryland criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP today by calling (202) 393-0535 to discuss your case and how we can help you build a strong defense to minimize the legal consequences you are facing.