A person who is convicted in federal court of a violent felony can be sentenced to life in prison if he or she has two or more subsequent felony convictions in state or federal court. This is commonly referred to as a “Three Strikes” penalty, in reference to the “three strikes, you’re out” rules of baseball.
While this law is intended to permanently take violent habitual offenders off the streets, the federal statute may be invoked even in certain lower-level offenses and remove all sensible sentencing discretion from judges who could ordinarily consider mitigating circumstances of certain cases. For this reason, it is important for all individuals with criminal histories to seek qualified legal representation if they are facing federal charges.
Dallas Three Strikes Law Lawyer
If you have previous felony convictions and are facing new federal felony charges, you should immediately contact and experienced criminal defense attorney. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents clients in the greater Dallas area, including such communities as Garland, Irving, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Richardson, Carrolton, and Balch Springs.
Our firm also helps the residents of nearby areas like Denton and Lewisville in Denton County, Fort Worth and Arlington in Tarrant County, and Plano, McKinney, Allen, and Frisco in Collin County. Call us today at (972) 233-5700 or send us a message online to set up a free consultation that will let us review your case.
Three Strikes Law Information Center
- What is the federal version of this law?
- What kinds of crimes are classified as serious violent felonies?
- What kinds of drug offenses count as strikes?
Under Title 18 U.S. Code § 3559(c), a person who is convicted in federal court of a serious violent felony can be sentenced to life in prison if he or she has been previously convicted of either:
- Two or more serious violent felonies
- One or more serious violent felonies and one or more serious drug offenses
Previous felonies can apply regardless of whether they occurred in state or federal court. However, multiple previous convictions will not count as strikes if multiple convictions were the result of a single incident.
A serious violent felony is defined in 18 U.S. Code § 3559(c)(2)(F) as being one of the following federal or state offenses:
- Abusive sexual contact
- Aggravated sexual abuse and sexual abuse
- Aircraft piracy
- Assault with intent to commit murder
- Assault with intent to commit rape
- Firearms possession
- Firearms use
- Manslaughter other than involuntary manslaughter
- Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit any of the above offenses
A serious violent felony offense can also mean “any other offense punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years or more that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another or that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”
A serious drug offense is defined in 18 U.S. Code § 3559(c)(2)(H) as being an offense that is punishable, or an offense under state law that if it had been prosecuted under federal law would have been punishable under relevant sections of the Controlled Substances Act or the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. These provisions include bringing or possessing on board a vessel, aircraft, or vehicle, importing, exporting, creating, manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense any of the following amounts of controlled substances:
- 1 kilogram or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of heroin
- 5 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of
- Coca leaves, except coca leaves and extracts of coca leaves from which cocaine, ecgonine, and derivatives of ecgonine or their salts have been removed
- Cocaine, its salts, optical and geometric isomers, and salts or isomers
- Ecgonine, its derivatives, their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers or
- Any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of any of the substances referred to in three clauses above
- 280 grams or more of a mixture or substance described in the above section which contains cocaine base
- 100 grams or more of phencyclidine (PCP) or 1 kilogram or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of phencyclidine (PCP)
- 10 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of N-phenyl-N- [1- ( 2-phenylethyl ) -4-piperidinyl] propanamide or 100 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of any analogue of N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-piperidinyl] propanamide
- 1000 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marihuana or
- 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, and salts of its isomers or 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, its salts, isomers, or salts of its isomers
Three Strikes Law Lawyer in Dallas
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy fights federal charges for clients throughout the greater Dallas area. Both of our Dallas criminal defense attorneys are licensed to practice in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
In addition to Dallas County, our firm also serves Tarrant County, Collin County, Denton County, Ellis County, Johnson County, Rockwall County, and Wise County. Call us today at (972) 233-5700 or send us a message online to arrange a free, confidential consultation that will let us review your case and begin developing your legal defense.