Under Texas law, you may get a harsher punishment if you are a repeat criminal offender. This means that a court can choose to enhance the range of punishment of your current charge if you have previous criminal record denoting a certain crime. The range of punishment is the length of time you must spend in prison or the fine that you have must pay if convicted of an offense.
The range of punishment begins with the minimum penalty and goes up to the maximum penalty. Read below to learn more about how enhancements may affect repeat offenders.
How can enhancements affect my current case?
Enhancements can affect the range of punishment for an accused crime by increasing the classification of a crime to a higher classification. Routinely, courts hand down sentence enhancements simply because you have a criminal record of a certain offense.
Enhancements are hard to understand and you should first realize what the standard punishments are for felony offenses. First, you need to know the degree of your felony charge. All felonies have different degree classes. The Texas Penal Code denotes the proper sentences for all felony offense classifications.
Are my charged enhanced?
Now that you are familiar with what the routine punishment should be, how do you know if it is an enhancement? First, look at the official charging document, also referred to as the indictment, to see if there is language pertaining to an enhancement within the document. This is usually found near the bottom of the indictment.
If you find that the courts are enhancing your charge due to a previous conviction, the state has the burden of showing proof of that offense. The prosecution typically shows this proof by presenting a past judgment of conviction. However, you do not have to plead guilty to an enhanced charge just because the prosecutor is alleging a previous conviction.