Can Prior Offenses Affect Current Penalties?

Multiple Offenses in Orange County

Unfortunately, past mistakes do not always stay in the past, especially when it comes to criminal proceedings. In California, judges will always consider multiple convictions in sentencing, unless a significant amount of time has passed. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, we want to help you fight convictions for multiple offenses to ensure that your prior history does not impact your future.

Our Anaheim criminal lawyer, Mr. Gibbs, is a dedicated advocate for the rights of the accused. In his 30 years of experience, he has seen defendants be judged harsher because of past mistakes. He knows that your reputation could be marred by a prior conviction, and wants to ensure that you are given your fair chance at justice when so much is at stake.

Consequences of Multiple Convictions

Typically, individuals who have committed a second or subsequent felony offense are considered repeat or habitual offenders. These individuals, if convicted for a second felony, will face penalties that are twice the amount of the first. If the third offense is a violent felony offense, then the individual would be subject to California's Three Strikes Law, which requires 25 years to life imprisonment for a third, violent felony offense.

Having prior offenses on your record can also impede your ability to secure an expungement or a "sealing" of your criminal record. For example, you cannot receive an expungement if you are still serving out your sentence for a prior offense. Also, if you begin the process of expungement but are then charged with another criminal offense, you will not be able to complete the process. The affect of prior offenses on expungements is detailed in § 1203.4 and § 1203.17 of the California Penal code.

Multiple Traffic Offenses

All traffic-related offenses contribute to a point system. Everyone with a California driver license can incur points against their license for things like speeding, failure to yield and reckless driving. Points from prior traffic offenses can add up, and can ultimately result in a license suspension or revocation. In terms of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), penalties for multiple offenders include a unique supplementary treatment program, but ultimately adhere to the Three Strikes Law, as well.

Fortunately for some, in California, DUI convictions, as well as many other criminal offenses, go by the standard of a ten year look-back period. This means that any conviction that you faced more than ten years ago, will not count against you as part of the Three Strikes Law. This is intended to ensure that individuals who have learned and grown from prior mistakes are not penalized more harshly by one-off events later in life. Ultimately, in facing a second or third criminal offense, it is essential that you have a competent and experienced attorney at your side to help reduce any criminal sentencing.

We've Seen 1,100 Cases Dismissed

When it comes to prior offenses, your best chance at ensuring that they do not affect penalties for current charges is to fight the conviction itself. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, we've handled more than 2,500 criminal defense cases and know what it takes to win. We have a familiarity with the local court system that has enabled us to build insight into the judges and prosecutors that you may face. Our experience is your advantage in the courtroom, and we are ready to fight for you.

Schedule a free consultation with our Anaheim criminal defense attorney; call us today!