Legal Question in Criminal Law in Texas
Can they use enhancements before trail?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Probably a typo, but I assume you meant trial and not trail.
Enhancements aren't "used" before trial in the sense that they have any immediate effect, other than perhaps on bail decisions and plea bargaining. Enhancements must be alleged in writing to put the accused on notice. They have the effect of elevating the punishment for the offense should the person be convicted and the enhancements be proved as being true.
Before trial, a careful defendant should be properly advised of the potential impact of enhancements should they elect to go to trial as opposed to working out a plea agreement. Naturally, the prosecution will factor in these prior convictions in their plea offers and make offers that are typically higher than they would be without enhancements.
The only way to know for certain that a plea offer is any good is to reject it, go to trial and see what happens. Decisions regarding plea offers vs. trial should only be made after expert advise from a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist.
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