Does the 3-Strikes Law Exist in Georgia?

Receiving a felony conviction in Georgia can seriously impact your future. You won’t only be looking at a few month or years in jail, but at a lifetime of consequences to your career, housing, education, relationships, and life. As someone with a felony charge against you, you must take serious thought about preparing your defense. A rule that might come into play is Georgia’s “three-strikes law.” Find out what this law is, what it could mean in your particular situation, and potential strategies to defend yourself against its repercussions.


Before you can fully understand the state’s three-strikes law, you must learn Georgia’s “Seven Deadly Sins.” Seven crimes exist that will automatically come with stiffer penalties and generally no chance for parole. In terms of criminal convictions, the Seven Deadly Sins are particularly heinous crimes that the courts do not take kindly to. The seven crimes are as follows:

  1. Murder
  2. Kidnapping
  3. Rape
  4. Aggravated sexual battery
  5. Aggravated child molestation
  6. Aggravated sodomy
  7. Armed robbery

All of these crimes carry mandatory minimum jail/prison sentences of 10 years, except murder which comes with the penalty of life in prison without parole. A second offense of any of these seven crimes will result in a life sentence as a minimum sentence. Georgia’s three-strikes rule deals with the Seven Deadly Sin crimes and what may happen if an individual repeatedly finds him/herself charged with them.


Georgia’s three-strikes law is a misnomer, as it actually only involves two strikes. The first strike, or first conviction, and the second strike. The three-strikes law is an example of severe sentencing for certain felonies. The first strike comes with serious enough penalties, but the second strike is dramatically worse. Many people don’t realize just how much trouble they can get in by receiving two convictions for “Seven Deadly Sins” crimes in Georgia. Instead of looking at a decade behind bars, a second strike could result in a life sentence.

Georgia lawmakers passed the three-strikes system to keep repeat offenders on short leashes; ultimately to discourage convicted criminals from committing crimes upon their release from prison. The three-strikes rule is a relatively simple way for legislators to take a tough stance on crime in the state. Here’s how it works: if an individual already has one “strike” against him/her on a criminal record, the individual will automatically receive a life sentence for a second strike.

The three-strikes rule in other states actually gives individuals three chances before a life sentence, but Georgia’s law is stricter. A second offense of a serious felony will equal life in prison. Under a typical three-strikes rule, the third crime the individual commits doesn’t necessarily have to be a felony or one of the Seven Deadly Sin crimes. Instead, it can be any crime that triggers a life sentence.


Lawmakers might think the three- or two-strikes rule is keeping criminals off the streets, but people who oppose the law say that it mistreats certain people and pushes them away from justice. Opponents say that the three-strikes rule won’t stop criminals from committing serious violent crimes such as rape and murder. The argument is that most of these crimes are not premeditated and do not give the offender time to contemplate the consequences of a subsequent criminal conviction. Another argument is that the offender doesn’t plan on getting caught.

Other opposers of the law say that it could in fact increase the rate of violent crimes, at least against police and corrections officers. They say that a life sentence comes with a much greater risk of criminals resisting arrest, killing witnesses, or lashing out while in prison. There is no incentive to be on one’s best behavior with a life sentence, whereas other sentences encourage reformation and introduction back into society. The three-strikes rule, therefore, could arguably raise violence and law enforcement deaths.

If you are facing charges for any of Georgia’s Seven Deadly Sins, contact the law office of Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C. today. Our sexual assault lawyers , theft attorneys , and all-encompassing criminal defense lawyers have experience on both sides of the courtroom to give our clients the edge to protect their rights and freedom in court.