Many criminal charges are the result of people making a serious mistake. Unfortunately, some people make the same mistake more than once.
Now imagine you’ve made a serious mistake that results in criminal charges, and you’re realizing that your chances of avoiding long-term incarceration are slim-to-none. That scenario is a reality for habitual offenders in Louisiana. Here, we’re going to discuss what defines a habitual offender and what their rights are according to the law.
What Makes Someone a Habitual Offender?
By definition, a habitual offender is an individual who has repeatedly been arrested or is considered a career criminal, meaning they’ve been convicted of crimes multiple times throughout their life. Many states have laws regarding habitual offenders. Likewise, the number of offenses it takes to be classified as a habitual offender varies from state to state.
The severity of the consequences for repeat offenders depends on the type of charges at hand. For example, an individual previously convicted of a felony and facing new felony charges will be given more severe penalties than an individual facing misdemeanor charges for the second time.
Do Habitual Offenders Have Rights?
In Louisiana, prosecutors can file to have an individual’s charges increased because of repeat offenses. Most states do not have any laws that require warnings regarding repeat offender laws to be given. Under habitual offender laws, even typically minor offenses such as possession can carry serious consequences such as long-term incarceration.
Although habitual offenders technically have the same rights as everyone else, their opportunities to exercise those rights are minimized by current laws. The best chance they have for making their case and having their voice heard is to hire a proven criminal defense attorney with experience representing repeat offenders in Louisiana.
Habitual Offender Reform In Louisiana
The state of Louisiana has extremely high rates of incarceration. Throughout the years, many efforts were made to combat the notable number of individuals facing time in jail. However, there was little to no progress made. In an effort to get people back on their feet instead of behind bars, state lawmakers addressed habitual offender reform in 2017. Such changes included:
- Decreasing incarceration time for felonies
- Narrowing the window of prior conduct
- Prohibiting life sentences for non-violent offenses
Although the changes made in 2017 had a significant impact, state legislators didn’t stop there. In 2018, a law was signed that exempts non-violent and non-sexual offenders from habitual offender laws. This historical change put Louisiana at the forefront of habitual offender reform.
Thanks to the reform of habitual offender laws in Louisiana, individuals who have made more than one serious mistake in their life have reason to have hope. Any person facing charges for a repeat offense should discuss their situation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to see what these significant changes mean for them.
Secure Proven Legal Representation For Your Case Today
In Louisiana, a top source for criminal defense attorneys is the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. We have more than 25 years of experience representing ordinary citizens just like you and want to help you get your life back on the right track. It’s our mission to give you the most personalized experience possible and help you have your voice heard.
Eric Johnson is respected throughout Louisiana and is known for providing solid representation that wins cases. He is a member of the Louisiana Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, with a successful track record of helping clients facing misdemeanor, felony, and even federal charges.
To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, call our office at 318-377-1555 or contact us online today. We’re here to represent you!