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How Does Alabama’s Three Strikes Law Affect Repeat Offenders in Birmingham?

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How Severe Is the Alabama “Three Strikes” Law in Alabama?

Decades ago, Alabama’s “three strikes” law (aka the Habitual Felony Offender Act or HFOA) put in place lengthy and severe sentences for a single Class A felony (such as a robbery, burglary, or drug trafficking offense where no person was physically harmed) if you had three prior felony offenses, no matter how minor these offenses might have been.

Therefore, if your current offense falls under this “three strikes” law, you would receive life imprisonment without parole.

The HFOA was designed to lower the felony crime rate due to its severity, but it was (and is) highly controversial and may even tie the hands of judges during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial.

A vast majority of inmates charged under the habitual offender law never were convicted of a violent crime or hurt anyone but now spend decades, if not life, in prison.

Currently, more than 600 hundred people now serve life without parole due to the HFOA. Although the law was intended to stop repeat offenders from committing more crimes, some statistics show that it hasn’t succeeded.

Also, you should know that Alabama judges have limited or no say in implementing the HFOA penalties, as Alabama state statutes mandate them.

Due to the state’s still harsh and severe “three strikes” laws,” if you are charged with a felony, no matter how minor, you must obtain the professional advice, guidance, and experienced counsel of a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Has the “Three Strikes” Law in Alabama Changed or Being Scrutinized?

As stated, the Alabama “three strikes” law was implemented to provide highly severe penalties for repeat offenders to slow down or stop their actions. Overall, at the time, this idea gained significant popularity throughout the U.S.

However, soon after these laws were implemented, the statistics began to show that they failed to have any real impact on crime and, instead, were rapidly filling Alabama prisons at the taxpayer’s expense.

Although the Alabama legislature is now scrutinizing these severe laws, they remain active in the state.

Alabama is still ranked third in the nation for the highest number of prisoners facing life sentences without the possibility of parole for committing non-violent crimes.

Accordingly, if you are charged with a felony in Alabama, no matter how minor, you must ensure you have well-versed and up-to-date professional legal representation. These “three strikes” laws are still severe, and your Birmingham criminal defense lawyer must be committed to protecting your rights and fully aware of the total status of the HFOA laws.

Although changes may be in the works, currently, very few exceptions are provided under the law, and if you’re convicted of a crime, you still could be sentenced to a lifetime in prison for a Class A felony.

Additionally, the current law still doesn’t allow the judge to consider the circumstances of past convictions and does not provide for early release based on rehabilitation.

Therefore, to protect your rights and freedoms, if you are currently under investigation or charged with a crime, you must consult with an experienced criminal defense law team. Most people who face the Alabama criminal justice system do not realize the severe and harsh penalties they may face. Also, if you’ve had any prior convictions, the “three strikes” laws can be your death knell, and under the proper legal circumstances, and without the professional legal guidance you need, you could face life in prison.

My Sentence Was Imposed Under the HFOA Laws, Can My Case Now Be Reviewed?

The Alabama House of Representatives recently approved a bill that may allow a small group of inmates to have their sentences reviewed.

Alabama Legislature Bill HB 299 is designed to allow inmates convicted of a crime that did not result in a physical injury to a person and sentenced under the law before 2000 to possibly have their sentences reviewed.

The truth is that many felons who have gone through the Alabama justice system have done things much more severe than some people who are serving life without parole due to the HFOA guidelines.

This law may also allow judges, under specific circumstances, to exercise more discretion in sentencing people with prior felony convictions.

Although this may be a start to revising some of the harsh HFOA laws and guidelines, if you are facing a felony charge in Alabama, it would be a disastrous mistake not to have the most reliable, experienced, and thorough criminal defense lawyer possible. Your life would change forever if you faced any of the sentencing guidelines mandated by the HFOA laws.

Currently, Are the “Three-Strikes” Penalties Mandatory In Every Applicable Case?

In specific cases, the Alabama court may find that a second or third strike defendant falls outside the “spirit” of the HFOA “3-Strikes Law.” When this occurs, the state prosecutor, based on the court’s motion, may dismiss one or more of the defendants’ previous “strikes.”

This is accomplished by using the powers given to the courts since 1860; they can dismiss all or part of an action for good cause and to further the cause of justice.

However, when this is done, the Alabama court must clearly state all the facts that justify dismissing the prior order on the official record.
This decision to dismiss a prior “strike” must be appealed by the prosecution and reviewed by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
However, this is still a rare occurrence, and the sentencing judges will almost always dismiss a prior only when it’s old, and the current offense is minor and non-violent.

It should be noted that this legal path and leniency are almost unheard of if the new offense is serious or violent. So, it’s never wise or prudent to base your defense on this possible outcome, as it usually would not work out well.

I May Be Facing a Felony Charge in Alabama; How Should I Proceed?

Suppose you are under investigation or have been charged with a felony in Alabama. In that case, you must get the professional advice, guidance, and experience of a skilled Birmingham criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Even if it’s your first offense, you never want to be in a position that forces you into a life sentence.

Although there has recently been criticism and challenges to Alabama’s “three Strikes: law, this law remains and dominates when used to sentence convicted offenders.

The Birmingham-based criminal defense lawyers at the Hazzard Law Firm, LLC will provide personal, passionate, and highly skilled attention to all the details of your case and fight for your freedom from the very beginning to the very end of your case.

Call them today at 205-881-5641 and get a thorough consultation on your case so all your legal options are clear; your future and freedom demand nothing less than the excellence they will provide.

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