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Will a prior felony enhance my sentence?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2020 | Felonies |

If you have a prior felony conviction in California, you may be concerned about facing new charges.

It is a legal standard in the United States that repeat offenders face enhanced sentences in most cases.

But these depend on a few factors under California law, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, including the type of prior offense, its severity, how long ago you received the conviction and how much, if any, time you served in state prison.

Violent felonies

Prior violent felony convictions can garner a new offender an additional three years each on top of a prison sentence for a new violent felony offense. For example, if a man has a prior robbery and a prior kidnapping conviction on his record and then receives an arson conviction, he could face not only a judge’s sentence for the arson but also an additional six years of incarceration — three for each prior violent felony conviction.

Violent felony offenses include murder, attempted murder, voluntary manslaughter, robbery, sexual abuse of a minor, rape, extortion, arson, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, some forms of assault and a host of similar offenses enumerated in Penal Code (PC) Section 667.5(c) 667.5.

This enhancement may not apply if you completed your sentence more than 10 years before facing the new charges.

Nonviolent felonies

Other felony offenses for which you served prison time may result in an additional year on top of a new felony prison sentence.

In other words, if a woman has a prior nonviolent drug trafficking offense on her record, a new similar conviction could net her an additional year on her sentence. Nonviolent felony offenses in California are all felony offenses that state law does not explicitly define as violent.

This enhancement may not apply if you completed your sentence more than five years before facing the new charges, and it will most likely not apply if you never served a prison sentence for the prior offense.

In addition to these sentencing enhancements, alleged offenders typically face more severe charges for repeat crimes of any type. For example, many misdemeanors can easily become a felony if they become habitual.