I often tell my clients that your criminal history is your resume. If you are constantly getting in trouble with the law, your criminal record will follow you like a shadow. Even crimes that happened 10 years ago will still haunt you today. This is especially true with the enactment of the Georgia Recidivist Statue codified at O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7.
O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7(a) states if someone has one prior felony conviction, prosecutors have authority to file notice asking the judge to sentence that person to the maximum time allotted for their crime. Upon this notice, the judge sentences the defendant to undergo the longest period of time prescribed for the punishment of the subsequent offense of which he or she stands convicted. However, the trial judge may, in his or her discretion, probate or suspend the maximum sentence prescribed for the offense.
What this basically means is if you are convicted of a crime a second time, the judge has no discretion but to sentence you to the longest time allowed for that particular crime. But calm down, this does not necessarily mean you have to be locked up. The judge still has the option to allow you to serve the sentence on probation or just flat-out suspend the sentence. However, a mandatory life sentence clearly cannot be suspended or probated. Thomas v. State, 321 Ga.App. 214, 741(2013), Singleton v. State, 293 Ga.App. 755, 667 (2008).
Also, it is important to remember that the state has to first notify you of its intention to seek a conviction against you under O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7. If the states fails to notify you prior to trial, the judge cannot impose this recidivist sentencing. Mays v. State, 262 Ga. 90, 414 S.E.2d 481(1992).
Three Strikes Rule:
The second part of Georgia’s recidivist statute is O.C.G.A. § 17-10-7(c), commonly known as the “three strikes” rule. Under this section, any person convicted of three felonies shall, upon conviction for such fourth offense or for subsequent offenses, serve the maximum time provided and shall not be eligible for parole until the maximum sentence has been served. Therefore, a person convicted of the three strikes rule is not allowed to be released early. This person must serve every day of his sentence.
Again, it must be noted that the defendant does not have to be sent to jail; they can still get sentenced to probation. Pritchett v. State, 267 Ga.App. 303, 599 (2004).
Why Bixon Law?
Here at Bixon Law, we skillfully endeavor to get our clients the best possible deals. That does not change even when our clients have multiple convictions. Remember, having multiple convictions does not mean automatic jail time. The judge has the discretion to allow you to serve your sentence by probation or by suspending it. At Bixon, we fight for the latter! Give us a call at (404) 551-5684 to see how we can best serve your needs.