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Can My Past Crimes Be Used Against Me?

  • By: Ryan Hardy of Hardy Law Group, PLLC
  • Published: December 6, 2018
  • Category: Past Crimes
Can My Past Crimes Be Used Against Me?

Short answer is yes, your past can be used against you in Texas. There are numerous ways in which your past crimes can be used against you in Texas in a criminal case, but here I will only address how your criminal history can be used to enhance a punishment range in a criminal case.

Texas law allows the prosecutor to enhance an applicable punishment range with past criminal convictions. Someone charged with a third-degree felony, which normally carries a range of punishment of 2-10 years and an optional fine not to exceed $10,000, can face a second-degree punishment range of 2-10 years with the same fine, if they have a prior felony conviction other than a state jail felony that is final (not on appeal) from Texas or any other jurisdiction. Someone charged with a second-degree felony can face a first-degree punishment range of 5-99 years or life in prison with an optional fine not to exceed $10,000 if they have a prior felony conviction other than a state jail felony that is final from Texas or any other jurisdiction. Someone charged with a first-degree felony can face a punishment range of 15-99 years or life in prison with an optional fine not to exceed $10,000 if they have a prior felony conviction other than a state jail felony that is final from Texas or any other jurisdiction.

If you have two prior felony convictions, where the second conviction occurred after the first became final, then you can face a habitual offender punishment range if you are charged with either a first, second, or third-degree felony. A habitual offender punishment range carries a minimum of 25 years and maximum of life in prison.

State jail felonies have their own rules for punishment enhancements. If you are charged with a state jail felony and you have two prior state jail felony convictions, then you may face a third-degree punishment range of 2-10 years confinement and an optional fine not to exceed $10,000. If you have two prior regular felony convictions, and the second is for offense that occurred after the first conviction became final, then you may face a punishment range of a second-degree felony (2-20 years and an optional fine not to exceed $10,000). State jail felonies are subject to some other enhanced punishment ranges depending on the nature of the current allegation as well as past convictions.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a felony and you want to know more about enhanced punishments, then please make an appointment for a complimentary consultation with the criminal defense attorneys at The Hardy Law Group, PLLC. Our attorneys have the experience and expertise to help you effectively deal with your case and possible punishment enhancements.

Ryan Hardy of Hardy Law Group, PLLC

About the Author Attorney Ryan Hardy graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in
Government/Political Science and a minor in Business Administration...Read More