Hyatt & Hyatt, PLLC has the resources and know-how to help guide defendants through the enhancement process. Whether our clients are looking at a State Jail offense with the possibility of enhancement to Sex Crimes with the possibility of a Mandatory Life, we have the knowledge and experience to help clients manage risk and make informed decisions. Enhancements and their implications are a continually changing process. While the law is black and white, the implementation of it and execution of sentences is far from it. The attorneys at our firm are well versed in the legal aspects of the use of prior convictions for purposes of enhancement.
In recent years, the Texas Legislature has taken an increasingly aggressive stance towards punishment for offenders charged with sex-related offenses. In fact, the last couple of legislative sessions have resulted in changes to the statutory scheme that directly result in sentences that are dramatically different from what they were just a few years ago. As such, any discussion of punishment range and enhancement must first begin with the charged offense.
For example, if an individual is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Penalty Group 1, with an amount less than 1 gram, the starting point is that it is a State Jail Felony. As discussed in our Felony Punishment page, the range of punishment for this offense is between 180 days and 2 years in a State Jail Facility with a fine not to exceed $10,000. If this same individual has been in trouble before and had one prior State Jail trip with only one State Jail conviction, and no other felony criminal history, this new offense would still be a State Jail Felony. However, if he went to State Jail on one trip, but happened to be convicted of two separate State Jail Felonies, and was sentenced to time on both State Jail offenses that ran concurrently, he’s looking at a dramatically different outcome. If an individual charged with a State Jail Felony has twice before been convicted of State Jail offenses, and it is proven at trial that he has two prior State Jail convictions, the punishment range is increased to that of a Third Degree Felony.
As discussed in the Felony Punishment page, the range of punishment for a Third Degree Felony is 2 to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with a fine not to exceed $10,000. While the implication of a State Jail conviction being punished as a Third Degree Felony sounds bad, oftentimes, individuals convicted of Third Degree Felonies often make parole and do less actual time than those folks that do State Jail time. This is just one example of how a simple concept is quickly complicated by both the legal requirements of enhancement and the unique facts that go into each case. Each case presents its own unique challenges.
Hyatt & Hyatt is ready, willing and able to guide you or a loved one through the enhancement process. Whether it is a first time offense, or an individual who has some familiarity with the Criminal Justice system, each case is unique. As such, if you have questions about your rights and implications of felony enhancement, whether the case is a Capital Felony, First Degree Felony, Second Degree Felony, Third Degree Felony, or State Jail Felony, give us a call.