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PC1170.12 Prior Felony Convictions / Law & Punishment / CA Criminal Defense Attorneys

In California, a PC1170.12 Allegation allows for longer prison sentences for certain crimes if the criminal defendant 1) is convicted of a felony offense, and 2) the defendant has previously been convicted of a felony offense. The PC 1170.12 special allegation generally appears in charging as documents as following: Allegation - PC1170.12(A)-(D)-A: Prior Felony Convictions

Example: In 2019, David is convicted of the felony crime of Robbery (PC211-F). Subsequently, in 2023, David is criminally charged with committing the felony crime of Criminal Threats (PC422(A)-F). Thereafter, the district attorney alleges a PC1170.12 Prior Felony Conviction against David for the prior Robbery conviction, along with the Criminal Threats allegation.

In the above example, if David is found guilty of both the Criminal Threats allegation, and the PC1170.12 Prior Felony Conviction for Robbery, then David may suffer a longer prison sentence for the Criminal Threats conviction than he otherwise would have suffered if had not been charged or convicted of the PC1170.12 special allegation.

Serious & Violent Offense Priors: For a PC1170.12 Prior Felony Convictions Enhancement to apply, the defendant must have suffered a prior felony conviction for a serious or violent offense, also known as a California “Strike” Offense.

Serious and Violent offenses are listed at PC 1192.7 and PC 667.5, respectively, and include: Robbery, Criminal Threats, Torture, Rape, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Child Molestation, Carjacking, Residential Burglary, Kidnapping, Murder, Witness Intimidation, Attempted Murder, Mayhem, Lewd Act Upon a Child, and more.

PC1170.12 Enhanced Penalties (Abbrev.)

Penal Code 1170.12 allows for the following penalty enhancements:

  • Probation Ineligibility (PC1170.12 (a)(2))

  • Suspended or Split Prison Sentence Ineligibility (PC1170.12(a)(3))

  • Local County Jail Incarceration Ineligibility [State prison incarceration only] (PC1170.12(a)(4))

  • Reduced “Good Conduct Credits” Awarded (PC1170.12(a)(5))

  • Concurrent Sentencing Ineligibility Sentencing (PC1170.12(a)(6)-(7))

  • Double-Length Prison Sentence for Current Felony Offense after a “One Strike” Prior Conviction (PC1170.12(c)(1))

  • Life in Prison for the Current Offense after a “Two Strike” Prior Conviction (PC1170.12(c)(2))

Note: Non-serious, non-violent, non-sexual current offenses may be punished according to PC1170.12(c)(1) in some situations (Double the length of prison sentence associated with the current felony offense, as opposed to life in prison) (PC1170.12(C)(2)(c))

Juvenile Offenders: California law allows for PC1170.12 Prior Felony Convictions enhancements to apply to juvenile offenders if all of the following is present:

  • The juvenile was convicted of a prior serious or violent crime when the juvenile was at least sixteen (16) years of age (PC1170.12(b)(3)(A))

  • The juvenile’s prior offense is a serious of violent offense as defined at PC 1192.7 and PC 667.5, respectively, or the juvenile’s offense is listed in Welfare and Institutions Code 707(b) [WI707(b)] (PC1170.12(b)(3)(B))

  • The juvenile was found to be a fit and proper subject to be dealt with under the juvenile court law (PC1170.12(b)(3)(C))

  • The juvenile was adjudged a ward of the juvenile court within the meaning of Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code because the person committed an offense listed in subdivision (b) of Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code (PC1170.12(b)(3)(D)).

Prior “Strike” Conviction Issues:

No Prior Incarceration for Prior Strike Conviction: PC1170.12 Prior Felony Convictions enhanced penalties apply to subsequent felony offenses when the prior offense is a “strike” offense (See Above). It does not matter if the prior strike conviction resulted in an actual prison sentence.

Example: David is convicted in 2018 of Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer (PC245(c)), a California “strike” offense. David is placed on probation after his conviction, and he does not serve an actual jail or prison sentence. Thereafter, in 2023, David is charged with felony Grand Theft from Person (PC487(C)-F), a non “strike” offense. The District Attorney decides to add a PC1170.12 allegation to David’s Theft charges. Result: David’s prison sentence is doubled if he is convicted of the Theft offense and the Prior Felony Convictions allegation, because it does not matter that David serve no actual incarceration for his prior “strike” offense.

Felony Reduced to Misdemeanor: For purposes of PC1170.12 Prior Felony Convictions enhancements, it does not matter if the defendant had his or her prior felony “strike” conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, unless the reduction occurred simultaneously with the initial sentencing (PC1170.12(b)(1)).

Dismissal of Prior Strike: In certain situations, the District Attorney, or the criminal court judge, may dismiss the defendant prior strike conviction. The result of dismissing a prior strike, also colloquially called “strike the strike,” will reduce the defendant’s prison sentence exposure.

Note: The availability of this option depends on the sufficiency of the evidence required to prove the defendant’s prior strike; however, it is not proper to “plea bargain” a strike away in order to reach a negotiated settlement (PC1170.12(e)). For more information, see PC1170.12(d)(1), PC1170.12(d)(2), and Penal Code 1385, Dismissal in the Interest of Justice.

Subsequent Misdemeanor Prosecution: PC1170.12 Prior Felony Convictions enhanced penalties do not apply to convictions in subsequent misdemeanor cases.

Example: In 2015, David is convicted of Attempted Murder (PC664/187(a)-F), a California “strike” conviction. In 2023, David is released from prison. Thereafter, David is convicted of a misdemeanor charge of Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI). Result: David’s DUI jail sentence is not enhanced due to his prior Attempted Murder conviction, because David’s DUI conviction relates to a misdemeanor charge and PC1170.12 enhancements apply only to felony convictions.

Finally, PC1170.12 Prior Felony Conviction enhancements are not the only penalty enhancement allowed under California law. Other penalty enhancements exist to add incarceration length for current felony conviction(s) when the defendant has suffered non-violent, non-serious prior felonies, or when the defendant commits a California “one strike” sex offense, and more.

For more information on PC1170.12, Prior Felony Convictions enhancement law, or other criminal penalty enhancements, contact our criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation. Our criminal defense team has successfully handled the defense of hundreds of felony and misdemeanor crimes in the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County. Call today!


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Allegation - PC1170.12(A)-(D)-A: Prior Felony Convictions


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