By Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi

September 10, 2015

Like many other states, Texas has particularly harsh penalties for persistent offenders. Similar laws in other states are well known as “three strikes” laws, in which a person with two prior felony convictions will automatically receive a pre-set punishment for their next conviction, regardless of the crime.

However, prior offenses are not the only factor that the courts consider when determining your sentence. If you are convicted of a crime in Texas, your sentence may be enhanced if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • If you have any prior convictions – previous convictions for both felonies and misdemeanors can be used against you during sentencing.
  • If you are a habitual offender – if you have two or more prior felony convictions, you will likely receive an enhanced sentence.
  • If you used a weapon during the crime – in many cases, simply possessing a gun can make you eligible for enhanced penalties.
  • If you committed the crime in certain locations – specifically for drug crimes, any offenses which occur in a school zone or playground will net an enhanced sentence.
  • If the victim was a minor – primarily for violent crimes or sex crimes. This may still apply even if the minor was not the direct victim, but was put in danger during the offense.

Can Out-of-State Convictions Be Used Against Me?

If you’ve been convicted of a felony in another state or country, that conviction can be used to enhance your sentence in a Texas court. Since definitions can vary from state to state, the court can also look at the length of the sentence and the type of jail facility to determine if a non-felony crime would be considered a felony in Texas.

Enhancements Can Be Extremely Complex

Since enhancements are impacted by many areas of Texas law, there is a tremendous amount of confusion and uncertainty about which standards to apply, even among judges and prosecutors. For this reason, it’s especially important to retain the services of a skilled Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer if you are facing any type of criminal charges. When you retain the Law Offices of A. Oliver Hassibi, our attorney will aggressively work to defend you against criminal charges.

Even without enhancements, criminal charges are serious. Call our firm today at (817) 826-9821 for tough defense.