January 3, 2013 By Stephen Klarich

Prop 36 Drug Treatment And The Three Strikes Law In California

The Prop 36 drug treatment law, known as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000, allows qualifying defendants convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses to receive a sentence of probation rather than incarceration.  As a term of the probation the defendant must participate in and successfully complete a drug treatment program.  If the defendant fails to complete the program or violates any other term of their probation then they can receive a sentence that includes substantial jail time.

The California three strikes law, which was implemented in 1994, created a sentencing scheme where repeat offenders would be subject to a potential 25-life sentence if convicted of a third strike.  Up until November of 2012, the first two strikes had to be “serious” or “violent” felony convictions but the third strike could have been any felony conviction, including possession of a small amount of a controlled substance.

Strikes Law
Qualifying defendants convicted of non-violent drug possession offenses can receive probation rather than incarceration.

The Prop 36 drug treatment program was designed in part to allow for drug treatment for those with 2 prior strikes who are convicted of a simple drug possession offense instead of a 25 to life prison sentence. Unfortunately, many defendants would violate the terms of their prop 36 probation or would not be able to successfully complete the treatment program and would ultimately receive 25 to life sentences for minor drug possession offenses.

In November 2012, a new ballot initiative, ironically also called Proposition 36, changed the three strikes law so that the third strike now has to be a conviction for a “serious” or “violent” felony.  No longer could a simple, non-violent drug possession charge be the basis for a third strike.  There are exceptions, however, for offenses like possession for sale and transportation of cocaine.  Charges such as these could still constitute a third strike and trigger a 25 to life prison sentence.

While the new change in the law isn’t perfect, it will prevent many unjust and unwarranted 25 to life prison sentences for defendants who fail to complete their prop 36 drug classes.  While defendants who fail to complete prop 36 will still be looking at increased sentences, it won’t be 25 to life prison. Wallin & Klarich has been helping those accused of drug crimes for over 40 years. If you or a loved one is facing a criminal case in Southern California call now at 888-749-0034 for a consultation. With offices located throughout the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties, we are able to be there for you wherever you happen to live. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Stephen Klarich

Stephen Klarich is a partner at Wallin & Klarich and expert in the field of sex crimes. For over thirty years, Stephen Klarich has been handling criminal cases and matters involving sex offenses. With an unparalleled knowledge of sex crimes defense, Stephen Klarich protects his clients’ rights. Stephen Klarich has experienced significant success in obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Governor’s Pardon for his clients. Thousands of clients have put their trust in Stephen Klarich and the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich in their time of legal need.

Practice area

  • Contact Us Now

    If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, now is the time to contact us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

SCHEDULE YOUR free consultation

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, this is the time to contact us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.