Person in handcuffs with hands behind back

Pennsylvania’s Three Strikes Law

Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. Feb. 16, 2022

Anyone who’s been involved in the criminal justice system needs to understand how state laws may affect their current and future charges. Specifically, in Pennsylvania, you need to be aware of the Three Strikes Law and what this means for people facing criminal charges, especially if they have prior convictions. In 2020, Allegheny County alone had a total of 3,643 felony cases come up, and the majority of these involved violent crimes that could have triggered the Three Strikes Rule if they resulted in a conviction. If you’re concerned about where you stand regarding this law, call Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. to talk through your options. From my offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I can help you understand how this law may affect you and will work tirelessly to defend your rights.

What is Pennsylvania’s Three Strikes Law?

Like over half the states in the county, Pennsylvania has what’s known as a “Three Strikes” law that’s intended to authorize more severe punishments for repeat offenders of certain crimes. The Commonwealth’s Three Strikes Law pertains solely to violent crimes and states that if you receive a third conviction for a violent crime, the judge will be mandated to sentence you to no less than 25 years in jail and can impose lifetime sentences as well. This law also affects second convictions of violent crimes where you’ll receive a mandatory minimum of ten years in jail.

Many people may find themselves unknowingly subject to the Three Strikes Law, especially if they’ve been charged with a violent crime in conjunction with a lesser weapons or drug charge. As can often happen, someone may commit a non-violent crime, but in the course of the act they used force against another person, and will now be looking at multiple charges—including one for assault. If the assault charge results in a conviction, that strike may count against you.

What Prior Convictions are Considered Strikes?

In order for a prior conviction to be counted as a strike against you, it must be a violent crime such as murder, voluntary manslaughter, terrorism, kidnapping, battery, robbery, aggravated assault, or sexual offense, including rape and sexual assault. Many felonies are classified as violent crimes because they involve the use of force or the risk of force, and as such, many of these charges can lead to the Three Strikes Law being enacted.

What Happens After My Third Strike?

The law states that after you’re convicted of a third violent crime, the judge must give you a minimum sentence of 25 years, but also has the freedom of giving you a life sentence if your current crime was serious enough, or if you’ve shown a pattern of severe crimes. Because these sentencing laws are so extreme, it’s essential you have an experienced criminal defense attorney working for you. Just because you’re charged with a crime doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be convicted of it, and a good attorney will advocate on your behalf to help protect your future.

How Experienced Advocacy Can Help

I’ve dedicated my practice to serving those in the criminal justice system because I truly believe everyone deserves to be represented and protected under the law. I base my practice out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I am able to help those throughout the state including Shaler Township, Ross Township, Fox Chapel, O’Hara Township, Penn Hills, Oakmont Borough, Indiana Township, and Aspinwall. If you’re facing a second or third criminal charge, you need to act quickly to ensure your rights are protected and that you can mount the best possible case in court. Contact me today to schedule a consultation.