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Violent Felonies
Law & Defense (PC 667.5)

California Penal Code section 667.5 deals with the law and application of prison sentence enhancements when a defendant has previously been convicted of a felony crime and he currently faces a possible conviction for a violent crime. PC 667.5(b) includes a list of the violent felonies to which the sentencing enhancements apply (See Violent Felony List Below).


These violent felonies, along with the serious felonies listed in PC 1192.7(c) and PC 1192.8(a), constitute "strike crimes" under California's Three Strikes Law.

PC 667.5 Enhancements: According to PC 667.5, if the defendant is convicted of a violent felony within ten years of release from custody for a conviction of a prior violent felony, then the defendant will have three years added to his or her sentence for each prior separate prior prison term. The three years added will be served consecutive to any new term. [PC 667.5(a)]

If the defendant was previously convicted of a non-violent felony within five years of a new felony offense, he or she will have one year added to any new prison term. The one-year additional penalty for the prison prior will be served consecutive to any new prison term. [PC 667.5(b)]

For purposes of PC 667.5, a prison prior occurs when the defendant actually serves time in prison (as opposed to a suspended sentence or grant of probation). However, mandatory supervision can be considered a prison prior if the defendant's sentence was suspended for such purpose. [PC 667.5(b)].

A defendant who served prison time in a county jail under PC 1170(h) sentencing (Split Sentencing) is considered to have a prison prior. [PC 667.5(e)].

Prison Prior Defined: Serving a prison term includes any confinement time in any state prison or Federal penal institution as punishment for commission of an offense, including confinement in a hospital or other institution or facility credited as service of prison time in the jurisdiction of the confinement. [PC 667.5(h)]

Note: Juveniles who served jail or prison commitments in the California Youth Authority are also subject to enhancement penalties under PC 667.5. [PC 667.5(j)]

Also, for purposes of prior prison enhancements, prisoners who were committed to the State Department of Mental health as a mentally disordered sex offender following a conviction of a felony, which commitment exceeded one year in jail, shall be deemed as having served a prison term. [PC 667.5(i)]

New Misdemeanor Charges: Enhancements for prison priors do not apply to subsequent misdemeanor convictions; however, due to the fact that the defendant has a prison prior, the defendant will likely suffer harsher punishments at sentencing on subsequent misdemeanor convictions.

For purposes of PC 667.5, a defendant is deemed to remain in prison custody for an offense until the official discharge from custody, including any period of mandatory supervision, or until release on parole or post release community supervision, whichever first occurs [PC 667.5(d)].

Strike Crimes: The violent crimes listed in PC 667.5(c) are considered Strike offenses under California's Three Strikes Law. Upon a second conviction for a strike offense, the defendant's maximum jail or prison exposure doubles. Finally, upon a conviction for a third strike offense, the defendant could face up to 25 years to life in prison.

For example, if the defendant is convicted of a felony crime (non-violent & non-serious) and the defendant has a strike prior (serious or violent crime), then the defendant's jail or prison time exposure will double, and he will have to serve at least 80% of his jail or prison sentence. If the defendant is convicted of strike offense after a conviction for a prior strike offense, then the defendant will have his sentenced double after enhancements are added for prior prison terms and then the defendant must serve at least 85% of his prison sentence.

Prop 57: California Proposition 57 is fairly new law that allows for increased earnings of good time credits for convicted felons. Most of Prop 57 does not apply to violent crimes listed under PC 667.5 but there are some exceptions. To learn more, please Prop 57.

Prison Presumptive: Violent felonies are usually prison presumptive crimes. This means that, unless the defendant is granted probation, which is not available in many PC 667.5 crimes, then the defendant must serve any incarceration in an actual California state prison, as opposed to a county jail. In addition, most violent felonies are not subject to split or suspended prison sentences (See PC 1170(h) Sentencing).

Violent Felonies & PC 667.5(c)

(Partial List)

  • PC 667.5(c)(1): Murder PC 187(a)

  • PC 667.5(c)(18): Rape & Spousal Rape by Force or Fear

  • PC 667.5(c)(5): Oral Copulation on Minor PC 287a(c)

  • PC 667.5(c)(8): Felony with GBI & Firearm

  • PC 667.5(c)(2): Mayhem PC 203 & 205

  • PC 667.5(c)(17): Carjacking PC 215(a)

  • PC 667.5(c)(9): Robbery PC 211 & PC 212.5

  • PC 667.5(c)(10): Arson with Injury PC 451(a)

  • PC 667.5(c)(10): Arson to Inhabited Structure PC 451(b)

  • PC 667.5(c)(12): Attempted Murder PC 664/187(a)

  • PC 667.5(c)(14): Kidnapping PC 207, 208, or 209

  • PC 667.5(c)(20): Threats to Victim or Witness in Gang Cases

To learn more about California Penal Code 667.5, Enhancement for Prison Priors, California Three Strikes Law, reduced good conduct credits, or application of Prop 57, contact our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our attorneys handle all misdemeanor and felony criminal charges in the Inland Empire, including Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Rialto, Victorville, Ontario, Yucaipa, Loma Linda, and more. Call today!


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