Penal Code 1192.7(c) PC | “Serious” Felonies


Penal Code 1192.7(c) PC | “Serious” Felonies

In California criminal law, Penal Code 1192.7(c) PC provides a list of offenses that are defined as “serious” felonies. This designation carries major consequences under California’s Three Strikes law and other recidivist sentencing schemes.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes a felony “serious” under PC 1192.7(c), how it impacts sentencing, and related laws.

Definition of “Serious Felony”

Penal Code 1192.7(c) states that “serious felonies” in California include:

  • Murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Mayhem
  • Rape
  • Sodomy by force
  • Oral copulation by force
  • Lewd acts on a child under 14
  • Any felony punishable by death or life in prison

And any of the following felonies:

  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Carjacking
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Rape with a foreign object
  • Assault with a deadly weapon

The complete list contains over 20 offenses that are designated as serious felonies in California.

Penalties for Serious Felony Convictions

The main consequences of having a serious felony on your record include:

  • Counting as a 1st or 2nd strike under California’s Three Strikes Law
  • Sentencing enhancements for future felony convictions
  • Disqualification from diversion programs
  • Inability to expunge the conviction from your criminal record

Having a prior serious felony conviction can substantially increase penalties for any subsequent felonies.

California’s Three Strikes Law

Under Penal Code 667, California’s Three Strikes law imposes harsh sentences for repeat serious or violent felonies:

  • 2nd Strike: Double the normal sentence
  • 3rd Strike: 25 years to life in prison

Only serious or violent felonies can count as strikes on your record. PC 1192.7(c) provides the list of serious felonies.

Sentencing Enhancements

Under PC 667, a 5-year enhancement is added to any new felony sentence for each prior serious felony conviction.

So if you were previously convicted of robbery, and later convicted of another felony, 5 additional years would be added to your new sentence.

Fighting Serious Felony Allegations

Having any felony reduced to a misdemeanor or non-serious felony can help avoid harsh recidivist penalties. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help argue against unfair sentencing enhancements.

They may also challenge prior strike convictions by arguing deficiencies like:

  • Violation of your constitutional rights
  • Invalid plea bargain
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel

If a prior serious felony conviction is overturned, it cannot be used to enhance future sentences.

“Violent” Felonies Under PC 667.5(c)

In addition to serious felonies, California law also designates certain crimes as “violent” felonies under PC 667.5(c).

Violent felonies include offenses like:

  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Rape
  • Carjacking
  • Assault with a deadly weapon

Violent felonies also count as strikes under California’s Three Strikes Law and lead to enhanced sentences for repeat offenses.

Fighting Serious Felony Charges

Being charged with a serious felony can completely derail your life. But an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight back.

From challenging strike offenses to avoiding unfair sentencing enhancements, the right legal guidance is critical to avoid draconian penalties.

Don’t leave your fate to chance. A knowledgeable lawyer can navigate California’s complex sentencing laws and help protect your rights at every stage.