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What Does It Mean to Be a Habitual Offender?

Texas law designates certain individuals as habitual offenders if they are facing felony charges after two prior felony convictions. In order to qualify as a habitual offender, you must meet the following criteria:

·         You must be on trial for a felony other than a state jail felony under Texas Penal Code section 12.35(a).

·         Your first felony conviction must have occurred before you were convicted of a second felony. In other words, your conviction for the first felony must be final, with any trial and plea bargains completely over with, before you are convicted of a second felony.

·         Your second conviction also must have occurred before you were convicted of a third felony.

What Does It Mean to Be a Habitual Offender?

Like many states, Texas has a “three strikes” law. Some states only consider very serious or violent felonies in enforcing their three strikes laws; Texas law, however, focuses on the classification of each felony in the Texas Penal Code, which means that the penalties received depend on the degree of severity of each of the prior two felonies, as well as the third felony. For instance, if you are convicted of two first-degree felonies, then the penalty for the third felony will take the severity of those prior convictions into account. As a result, if you are charged as a habitual offender, then you can face much more severe consequences if convicted. The potential sentence that you will receive as a habitual offender can be much longer, even as much as 15 or 25 years to life.

As you can see, the potential consequences of being charged as a habitual offender are severe. We are here to ensure that your rights are not violated and minimize any negative consequences that may face. The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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