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What You Need to Know About the Three Strikes Law

Posted By: On Behalf of J. Kevin Stockstill, Attorney At Law // On:

Also known as the habitual offender law, the three strikes law provides strict penalties to those who have prior felonies. Essentially, if an offender is brought to court on a felony and already has a felony on their record, the prosecution can charge them as a habitual offender, which allows harsher sentencing for the prosecuted. As an offender commits more felonies, the penalties get harsher.

As this is a Louisiana law, this statute (RS 15:529.1) does refer to felonies convicted in Louisiana. However, it also refers to convictions from other states or the federal government if that conviction would be considered a felony in Louisiana. The penalties are as follows:

Second Felony

If sentencing for the second felony (if it were the first offense) according to Louisiana law is less than natural life, then the offender will face no less than one-third and no more than twice the longest possible term that would be given for a first conviction.

If the second felony is a sex offense (RS 15:541) and the first was not, the offender will face a term no less than two-thirds and no more than three times the longest possible term given for a first conviction.

If both felonies are sex offenses and the victims were under 13 years of age for the commission of the crime, the offender will face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, probation, or suspension of the sentence.

Third Felony

If sentencing for the third felony (if it were the first offense) according to Louisiana law is less than natural life, then the offender will face no less than half and no more than twice the longest possible term that would be given for a first conviction.

If this felony and the two prior are crimes of violence or sex offenses where the victim was under 18 years of age for the commission of the crime, the offender will face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, probation, or suspension of the sentence.

Fourth Felony

If sentencing for the fourth felony (if it were the first offense) according to Louisiana law is less than natural life, then the offender will face no less than the longest possible term given for a first conviction, but can be no less than 20 years and no more than natural life.

If this felony (but none prior) is a crime of violence or a sex offense, the offender will face a sentence no less than 20 years and no more than twice the longest possible term given for a first conviction.

If this felony and the three prior felonies are crimes of violence or sex offenses when the victim is under 18 years of age for the commission of the crime, the offender will face a sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole, probation, or suspension of the sentence.


Further conditions considering time frames, responsibilities of law enforcement regarding information of convictions, and excessive sentencing can be found in RS 15:529.1.

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a felony, call Kevin Stockstill today for experienced, trustworthy representation.

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