What is a Habitual Offender under Texas Criminal Law?

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Anna Summersett explains the Habitual Offender enhancement for criminal cases in Texas and the effect on the punishment range for these offenses.

A habitual offender, similar to a repeat offender, does require that somebody has a previous felony conviction for which they served penitentiary time for. Again, the requirement is that penitentiary time actually be served. However, different from a repeat offender, a habitual offender is required to have at least two prior convictions for which they served separate penitentiary time. For example, if you were convicted of two third degree felony offenses at the same time and you were sentenced to seven years penitentiary and you served those at the same time, you’d be a repeat offender because that was one penitentiary trip.

If, however, you were convicted of a third degree felony, went to the penitentiary, got out on parole, committed another felony offense, was convicted of that offense, then a second penitentiary trip, you will then be what’s called a habitual offender in the state of Texas. That increased your minimum punishment regardless of whether you are a third degree, second degree, or first degree case to a minimum of 25 years.

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