A habitual offender is defined as someone who has a pattern of repeated criminal convictions over time. Like many other states, Colorado allows enhanced sentencing for habitual offenders. The goal of these “three strikes laws” is to discourage convicted criminals from committing additional crimes after they serve their time behind bars. After being charged with any criminal offense, it’s imperative to promptly contact a criminal defense attorney in Denver, CO. Advise your felony attorney of any prior convictions you have and discuss whether the habitual offender laws might apply to you.
Criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors often refer to the first habitual offender law as the “little habitual.” This law provides for enhanced sentences for individuals who are convicted of class one, two, three, four, or five felonies and have previously been convicted of two felonies within the past 10 years. If convicted a third time, the legal consequences depending on the sentencing guidelines for the most recent conviction. Once the individual has been adjudicated as a repeat offender, the mandatory prison sentence will be triple the maximum sentence of that particular crime. In certain cases, it may be possible for the felony attorney to negotiate for a reduction in charges to downgrade the felony to a misdemeanor.
An individual who is convicted of a fourth felony, regardless of the class of the felonies, will be an adjudicated repeat offender under what some attorneys call the “big habitual” law. The offender will serve a prison sentence that is four times the maximum sentence for the range for that particular crime.
A third and fourth conviction can keep a convicted criminal behind bars for a very long time, but the legal penalty will get even worse if there is a fifth felony conviction. If a four-time convicted felon is released and then commits a violent felony, a conviction will result in a sentence under the “bigger habitual” statute. This is a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of being released on parole for at least 40 years.