How Do My Previous Convictions Affect My Current Case?
Facing criminal charges can be frightening and challenging. However, if you have been convicted of previous crimes, your current case could become far more complicated.
Impact After Arrest
Prior convictions could have an immediate impact upon your current case. The exact severity of said impact can be determined by several factors including:
The Types of Crimes You Were Convicted Of
Any type of previous conviction will likely not work in your favor. However, should you face second or third offenses for specific crimes, law enforcement might levy more severe charges that could yield much harsher penalties should you be convicted again.
The Classification of The Crime
Previous convictions for less harsher crimes known as misdemeanors could turn into the more serious classification known as felonies. Moreover, previous felony convictions could result in newer, more stringent felony charges.
Existing Parole or Probation
In certain instances, those convicted of various offenses might be sentenced to probation or released from incarceration in accordance with a parole agreement. In either instance, facing new criminal allegations might violate the terms of said agreements and, in some cases, mandate immediate jail or prison time.
Impact During the Trial Phase
Should your case proceed to trial, past convictions can work against you in several ways including:
A Demonstrated Pattern
Merely being convicted of one crime does not mean that the you automatically committed the act you are currently facing charges for. However, a prosecuting attorney could use previous charges to demonstrate a pattern of criminal behavior to an adjudicating body such as a judge or jury. Granted, said body will be asked to render an ultimate decision regarding your fate on the basis of the evidence surrounding the current case. However, having a documented history of being a person of ill repute will not help your causes.
Establishing Motive or Intent
Past convictions for previous crimes might help prosecutors establish motive or intent. For example, if are facing charges for a crime you were previously convicted of, prosecuting attorneys could use said offenses to try and convince an adjudicating body that you have committed the act before and likely did so again.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney
The plain and hard truth is that previous convictions weighed atop current criminal charges are a serious and complicated situation that necessitates the immediate involvement of an experienced criminal defense attorney in PA. If you face this unfortunate predicament, please contact our offices as soon as possible.