Habitual Offender Law New Orleans
SUMMARY OF THE MULTIPLE OFFENDER LAW — La R.S. 15:529.1
The District Attorney may charge a person as a multiple or habitual offender after that person has been convicted of more than one felony.
A felony is any crime which is punishable by imprisonment at hard labor. Common felonies include theft and receiving stolen things valued over $300.00, nearly all crimes of violence and drug crimes, burglary, issuing worthless checks over $100.00, and many other crimes.
After the first felony conviction, the penalties for all subsequent felony convictions become much more severe. A prior conviction in any state or country may be considered if the crime would be a felony in committed in Louisiana.
On a second felony conviction (one prior conviction) the minimum penalty is ½ the maximum term of imprisonment applicable to a first offender; the maximum penalty is double the maximum term of imprisonment applicable to a first offender.
On a third felony conviction (two prior convictions) the minimum penalty is 2/3 the maximum applicable to a first offender; the maximum penalty is double the maximum applicable to a first offender. However, if the last and two prior felony convictions were for crimes of violence OR sex crimes against a person under 18 OR drug crimes punishable by ten years or more OR any crimes punishable by twelve years or more, the sentence for the 3rd felony conviction is NATURAL LIFE imprisonment without parole.
On a fourth or subsequent conviction (three prior convictions) the minimum penalty is twenty years at hard labor and the maximum penalty is NATURAL LIFE imprisonment without parole.
No conviction may be considered if the defendant has satisfied the 10 year cleansing period, beginning the date of release from actual custody or supervision by the Department of Corrections for probation, parole, or supervised good time, and ends on the date of the commission of the latest offense.
No sentence imposed under 15:529.1 may be suspended and the defendant may not be placed on probation. Most of these sentences are without reduction for good time.
In calculating whether a person is eligible for sentencing as an habitual offender, the sequence of offenses and convictions must be: commission of offense A, then conviction of offense A, then commission of offense B, then conviction of offense B, then commission of offense C, the conviction of offense C. Convictions on the same day for several district offenses committed in different incidents do NOT count as one conviction. See: State v. Michael Johnson, 2003-2993 (La. 10/19/04), 884 So.2d 568.
Each prior conviction must have been with counsel or an expressed waiver of counsel, and there must have been a complete Boykinization. Prior adjudication as a multiple offender is not required.
Defendants convicted of certain crimes which became felonies due to repeat offender status may not me multiple billed (such as repeat offender theft, possession of marijuana, convicted felon with firearm). However, those convictions may be used as prior (predicate) offenses if subsequently the defendant is convicted of another felony.
Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter is a Criminal Defense Attorney in the New Orleans area. If you are being charged of a crime as a Habitual Offender, Contact Attorney Carpenter. She is ready to fight for your freedom.