A number of factors can affect the outcome of your criminal case, including whether or not you have prior convictions on your criminal record. How can your past come back to haunt you? Here are some of the ways:
Plea deals are made between prosecutors and defendants all the time, but a judge must sign off on them before they are official. If a defendant has a prior conviction on his record, this could influence the judge’s decision to approve or reject the plea deal. The judge may reject the plea bargain if he feels that a defendant with multiple criminal convictions does not deserve a plea bargain. He could also reject it if he feels the deal did not adequately punish the defendant considering his criminal record.
Prior convictions can also affect the punishments that a defendant will face for any new crimes that he commits. For example, a first time DUI offender will face up to one year in jail, but defendants with three prior DUI convictions can face up to six years behind bars.
In this example, the law requires an enhanced sentence for defendants with prior convictions. But in other cases, a judge can decide to enhance a sentence for defendants with prior convictions even if it is not required by law. A defendant’s criminal record is one of many factors that may be taken into consideration during the sentencing phase of the trial.
One of the prosecutor’s goals is to convince the jury that the defendant is capable of committing the crime. In order to do this, the prosecutor will often attack the defendant’s character by discussing his prior criminal convictions. For example, let’s say a defendant is on trial for domestic violence and has been convicted of assault in the past. The prosecutor will most likely bring this up during the trial to show the jury that the defendant has a history of committing violent crimes. Even if the defendant’s prior convictions were for completely unrelated crimes, such as theft or DUI, the prosecutor could still mention them to paint a negative picture of the defendant.
If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Reisch Law Firm today so our criminal defense attorneys can fight to ensure your prior criminal convictions do not continue to affect your future. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.