With the passage of Senate Bill 5288, Washington State made changes to its three strikes law, and no longer recognizes a nonviolent robbery charge as an offense subject to its rules. Before this amendment, you may have faced a life sentence without parole after three felony convictions involving a list of offenses, as reported by MyNorthwest. The new bill, however, removed second-degree robbery from the list of offenses that count towards the three strikes.

The legal definition of robbery is taking away another individual’s property against his or her will by the use of violence, force, or coercion. Usually there is a dangerous weapon used to threaten the other individual. This makes robbery a felony offense in the Evergreen State. Robbery in the second degree, however, involves taking property from an individual without the use of harm, violence or a weapon.

Numerous felony offenses still listed in the bill are subject to the three strikes law and may result in a life sentence after three convictions. Individuals convicted of serious felony charges such as kidnapping, homicide or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remain subject to the three strikes guidelines.

In some cases, there may be a possibility of dismissing certain charges altogether or reducing them to a misdemeanor offense. Understanding your right to a legal defense may give you a better chance of fighting a prosecutor’s allegations. Having a prior conviction, however, may result in a harsher punishment. Senate Bill 5288 is not retroactive, but the law allows for some types of conviction removals to revise your record and provide you with a second chance.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and not intended as legal advice.