California trial courts have to power to dismiss Strike Priors in certain cases. Under the state’s “three strikes” law, a person with two or more convictions for any serious or violent felony and who subsequently gets arrested for any new felony may face life in prison, regardless of whether the new felony case is a serious or violent felony. If the defendant has only one prior conviction for a serious or violent felony and subsequently picks up a new felony of any kind, they could have their sentence doubled if convicted on the new case.
When the court strikes a prior, it prevents that conviction from being used to increase a sentence. For example, if a defendant faced six years in state prison due to a prior strike and the court dismisses or “strikes” the strike, then the defendant would only be looking at three years. In another example, an individual facing 25 years to life due to two or more strikes on their record would no longer face the length of that sentence if the court granted a request to “strike” one or more of the priors.