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Thanks to the abundance of criminal and courtroom procedurals on television, everybody thinks they know what a felony is. While this may be true to an extent, felonies can be surprisingly complex and serious -- even more so than one might think. We generally expect that felonies to carry stiffer penalties, but some people have no idea just how much more severe these penalties can be.

One of the clearest examples of severe felony sentencing is "three strikes" legislation. Georgia, like several other states, maintains a three strikes statute that puts a short leash on those who repeatedly find themselves on the wrong end of the law. The way they work is deceptively simple, and they sound great when local and state politicians campaign on a platform "tough on crime."

Under the three strikes rule, if an individual already has two violent crime felonies on his or her record, his or her third offense automatically leads to a life sentence. When it's talked about out on the campaign trail, this type of idea seems obvious and functional, but the practice of this policy gets thorny very quickly.

Under three strikes rules, the third crime that triggers a life sentence may not be a felony. Furthermore, some opponents of this law claim that it fundamentally mistreats certain populations and pushes away from, not toward, justice.

No matter what your criminal record is, you deserve a strong defense from an attorney who cares passionately about defending your future. With proper legal counsel, you can build a strong strategy to protect your future and your rights from harsh, unfair sentencing.

Source: Findlaw, "Felonies," accessed June 09, 2017

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