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CA "One Strike" Sex Crimes
Penal Code 667.61

California’s “One Strike Law” is found at California Penal Code Section 667.61. This article is a brief overview of the law and punishment related to PC 667.61. For further information, call out sex crimes criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation.

PC 667.61 Law

California’s “One Strike” crimes are serious and violent sex crimes that carry enhanced penalties because of the circumstances under which the crime is alleged to have been committed (i.e., Crime + Special Circumstance).

For example, the crime of lewd and lascivious act upon a minor under fourteen (14), which is charged as PC 288(a), has a maximum punishment of up to eight (8) years in prison upon conviction for each count. However, if the defendant is convicted of kidnapping the victim to commit the PC 288(a) crime, then the punishment is up to life in prison. This is because the crime of lewd and lascivious act upon a minor under fourteen (14), along with the special circumstance (kidnapping the child), qualifies as a California “One Strike” crime pursuant to PC 667.61.

List of PC 667.61 “One Strike” Crimes (Abbrev.)

Crime + Special Circumstance Required: To prove that the defendant committed a PC 667.61 crime, the district attorney must prove that at least one of the crimes listed above was committed, and that when the defendant committed one of the above-listed crimes, a “special circumstance” existed. The most common PC 667.61 “special circumstances” include:


  • Kidnapping to Commit Offense: The defendant kidnapped the victim of the present offense, and the movement of the victim substantially increased the risk of harm to the victim over and above that level of risk necessarily inherent in the underlying offense in subdivision (c) [PC 667.61(d)(2)]

  • Mayhem or Torture: The defendant inflicted aggravated mayhem or torture on the victim or another person in the commission of the present offense in violation of Section 205 or 206 [PC 667.61(d)(3)].

  • Prior Sex Crime Conviction: The defendant has been previously convicted of an offense listed above, including an offense committed in another jurisdiction that includes all elements of an offense specified in subdivision (c) [PC 667.61(d)(1)].

  • Sex Crime & Residential Burglary: The defendant committed the present offense during the commission of a burglary of the first degree, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 460, with intent to commit an offense specified in subdivision (c) [PC 667.61(d)(4)].

  • Bodily Injury: The defendant personally inflicted bodily harm on the victim who was under 14 years of age [PC 667.61(d)(7)].

  • Multiple Victims: The defendant has been convicted in the present case or cases of committing an offense, which is listed above, against more than one victim [PC 667.61(e)(4)] (Summarized & Abbrev.).

  • Use of Dangerous Weapon: The defendant personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon or a firearm in the commission of the present offense [PC 667.61(e)(3) Abbrev.].

  • Binding or Tying or Victim: The defendant engaged in the tying or binding of the victim or another person in the commission of the present offense [PC 667.61(e)(5)].

PC 667.61 Punishment

Prison Sentence: A conviction for a PC 667.61 crime may result in a prison sentence from 15 years to life, or 25 years to life (depending on the crime and the circumstances of the crime). This ‘life prison sentence’ is possible even if the defendant has no prior criminal “strike” convictions.

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is not available after a conviction for a penal code 667.61 violation. Additionally, the prison sentence may not be split or suspended after a PC 667.61 conviction.

Additional Penalties: Other penalties related to a PC 667.61 violation include, but are not limited to, sex offender registration for life (PC 290), court fines and fees, restitution to the victim for any economic loss to the victim, civil lawsuits, criminal protective orders (CPO), loss of immigration status, loss of a professional license, loss of military service options, and more.

PC 667.61 Crimes Defense

Common defenses to CA “One Strike” criminal charges include, but are not limited to, the following: insufficient evidence to prove the underlying criminal charge, insufficient evidence to prove the special allegation, lack of physical evidence or unreliable scientific evidence, coerced confession by law enforcement, mistake of law, insanity, alibi, demurrer, illegal search and seizure of evidence, and more. For more information on defense options in PC 667.61 cases, see Defense Strategies in CA Sex Crimes.

To learn more about California’s “One Strike’ Sex Crimes (PC 667.61), contact our sex crimes criminal defense lawyers today. We are a team of winning trial attorney who focus on felony and misdemeanor sex crimes in the Inland Empire and Los Angeles. Your consultation is free and discreet with a highly experienced and local criminal defense attorney. Call today!


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