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Houston Lawyer » Habitual Offenders


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Habitual Offender laws, depending on their scope and discretionary room given to judges, can lead to persons being punished quite severely for relatively minor offenses. The discretionary nature of the laws means that they can be applied unevenly.

habitual offender is defined as a person who has repeatedly committed the same crime. 

The nature, scope and type of habitual offender statutes vary, but generally they apply when a person has been convicted a minimum of twice for various crimes. Some codes may differentiate between classes of crimes (for example, some codes only deal with violent crime) and the length of time between convictions. Usually the sentence is greatly enhanced, in some circumstances it may be substantially more than the maximum sentence for the crime.

Habitual offender laws may provide for mandatory sentencing — in which a minimum sentence must be imposed, or may allow judicial discretion in allowing the court to determine a proper sentence. One example of a habitual offender statute is a provision requiring the revocation of a driver's license for a person convicted multiple times of driving while intoxicated (DWI).

Being classified as a habitual offender can result in severe legal consequences, including:

  • Higher criminal fines
  • Longer jail or prison sentences (often times much longer than the normal maximum limit for the crime)
  • Loss of various rights and privileges, such as the right to own a firearm or the loss of driving licenses
  • Negative impacts on the defendant’s child custody privileges

Also, many habitual offenders repeat their crimes because they involve some element of addiction. For example, addiction may be an element in some crimes, especially drug and alcohol-related crimes (such as DUI, public drunkenness, drug possession, etc.). In such cases, the defendant may also be required to complete mandatory substance abuse courses and/or psychological counseling.

Hire the Best Habitual Offender Lawyer: Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson

If you are facing habitual offense charges, you will need to speak with a qualified Criminal Lawyer immediately. Houston Habitual Offender Lawyer Charles Johnson can explain how the habitual offender laws in your area might affect your case. Criminal punishments can be very different depending on the type of offense, but your lawyer can help present arguments in your defense.

Penalties For Repeat And Habitual Offenders
Texas Penal Code

Offense Grade Enhancement
All Felonies [Tex. Penal Code § 12.42(d)]
If a person is on trial for any felony (except a state jail felony) and it is shown at the trial that the person has been previously convicted of two felonies, and the second previous felony conviction is for an offense that occurred subsequent to the first previous conviction having become final, on conviction the defendant shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life, or for not more than 99 years or less than 25 years.
First Degree Felony [Tex. Penal Code § 12.42(c)]
If a person is on trial for a first degree felony and it is shown at the trial that the person has once before been convicted of a felony (but not a state jail felony), on conviction the person shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life, or not more than 99 years or less than 15 years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Second Degree Felony [Tex. Penal Code § 12.42(b)]
If a person is on trial for a second degree felony and it is shown at the trial that the person has once been previously convicted of a felony (but not a state jail felony), on conviction the person shall be punished for a first degree felony.
Third Degree Felony [Tex. Penal Code § 12.42(a)(3)]
If a person is on trial for a third degree felony and it is shown at the trial that the person has once been previously convicted of a felony (but not a state jail felony), on conviction the person shall be punished for a second degree felony.

[Tex. Penal Code § 12.425(c)]
If a person is on trial for a state jail felony that is punishable under § 12.35 (c) and it is shown at the trial that the person has been once previously finally convicted of a felony [but not a state jail felony under § 12.35 (a)], on conviction the defendant shall be punished for a second degree felony.

[Tex. Penal Code § 12.35(c)]
State Jail Felony Punishment enhanced to third degree felony if:

  • the person used or exhibited a deadly weapon* during the crime or while fleeing the crime, and the person who used or exhibited the deadly weapon or was a party to the offense knew that the deadly weapon would be used or shown; or
  • the person has previously been convicted of any felony under § 20A.03 or §21.02, or listed in Article 42.12, § 3g(a)(1), Code of Criminal Procedure,** or for which the udgment contains an affirmative finding under Article 42.12, § 3g(a)(2), Code of Criminal Procedure***

* Tex. Penal Code § 1.07(a)(17): "Deadly weapon" is defined as:

  1. a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily in ury; or
  2. anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

** Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42.12, § 3g(a)(1)

Tex. Penal Code § 19.02, Murder
Tex. Penal Code § 19.03, Capital Murder
Tex. Penal Code § 21.11(a)(1), Indecency with a Child
Tex. Penal Code § 20.04, Aggravated Kidnapping
Tex. Penal Code § 22.021, Aggravated Sexual Assault
Tex. Penal Code § 29.03, Aggravated Robbery
Tex. Health & Safety Code § 481.140 or 481.134 (c), (d), (e), (f), Drug-Free Zones
Tex. Penal Code § 22.011, Sexual Assault
Tex. Penal Code § 22.04, Injury to a child, if punishable as a felony of the first degree
Tex. Penal Code § 43.25, Sexual performance by a child
Tex. Penal Code § 15.03, Criminal Solicitation, if punishable as a felony of the first degree
Tex. Penal Code § 43.05, Compelling Prostitution or
Tex. Penal Code § 20A.02, Trafficking of Persons

*** Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42.12, § 3g(a)(2)

If it was shown at the trial that a deadly weapon was used or exhibited during the commission of a felony offense or while fleeing such a crime and the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited. If the court makes an affirmative finding, it must be entered into the udgment. If the court makes an affirmative finding under this subdivision that the weapon was a firearm, the court shall also enter that finding into its judgment.

Class A Misdemeanor

[Tex. Penal Code § 12.43(a)]
If a person is on trial for a Class A offense and it is shown that the person has been previously convicted of any Class A misdemeanor or any degree of felony, on conviction the defendant shall be punished by:

  • Confinement in jail for not more than one year or less than 90 days
  • A fine not to exceed $4,000
  • Both such fine and confinement
Class B Misdemeanor

[Tex. Penal Code § 12.43(b)]
If a person is on trial for a Class B offense and it is shown that the person has been previously convicted of any Class A or a Class B misdemeanor or any degree of felony, on conviction the defendant shall be punished by:

  • Confinement in jail for not more than 180 days or less than 30 days
  • A fine not to exceed $2,000
  • Both such fine and confinement
Class C Misdemeanor

[Tex. Penal Code § 12.43(c)]
If a person is on trial for a Class C offense under Section 42.01 (Disorderly Conduct) or 49.02 (Public Intoxication) and it is shown that the person has been convicted under either of those sections three times or three times for any combination of those offenses and each prior offense was committed in the 24 months preceding the date of commission of the instant offense, on conviction the defendant shall be punished by:

  • Confinement in jail for not more than 180 days
  • A fine not to exceed $2,000
  • Both such fine and confinement

Texas DWI Repeat Offenders

If you commit DWI in Texas three times or more, you will be charged with felony DWI.

A felony DWI in Texas entails a fine not to exceed $10,000. You may also be jailed for as little as two years and as long as 10 years. You will be required to perform 160 hour to 600 hours of community service.

In addition, your driver's license will be suspended for between 180 days and two years. The same annual fees that apply to second-time offenses apply to subsequent offenses.

If put on probation, you will have to install a special ignition switch that prevents you from driving drunk.

Because of Texas' crackdown and enhanced punishments, for not only repeat offenders, but also for all those suspected or convicted of drunk driving, retaining the most qualified Houston Criminal Attorney can be crucial for individuals to build a strong defense and protect their rights.

Habitual Offender Defenses

Every habitual offender charge is different and can have it's own defense that could result in a complete dismissal of criminal charges associated with being a habitual offender. The Charles Johnson Law Firm specializes in providing a skillful Habitual Offender Defense.

Most Motions to Suppress a habitual offender case have to deal with the Probable Cause that was used for the officer to come in contact with you. This could be for example the reason for investigating your offense was not a valid reason. If this is the case then we could file a Motion to Suppress your habitual offender charge to have all evidence thrown out.

A Motion to Dismiss would be that even in the light most favorable to the State the elements of the crime that you are charged with are not met. If this Motion is granted then it would result in a complete dismissal of your habitual offender charge.

Hire the Best Habitual Offender Lawyer: Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson

Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson will travel to any state court in the State of Texas and to any Federal Court in the United States of America to fight for your freedom. 

The Charles Johnson Law Firm understands how to fight these charges and will work hard to help minimize any potential consequences. With so much at stake, you will want experienced legal counsel representing you.

If you have been accused of a second, third or fourth felony, you need legal representation immediately.  Houson Repeat Offender Charles Johnson has experience representing clients who meet the criteria for extended, enhanced, and minimum mandatory sentences.  Contact Habitual Offender Lawyer Charles Johnson for experienced and dependable representation. Providing the aggressive criminal defense you deserve, he can be reached directly around the clock, 7 days/week at (713) 222-7577.

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