Even though individuals who are found guilty of a crime and serve out their prison sentences are considered to have paid their debt to society, the legal system does not treat them equal to non-offenders when it comes to potential penalties for the same crime. Alleged repeat offenders are often confronted with harsher penalties than the first time they were accused and convicted of the crime, and failing to adequately defend against these subsequent charges could significantly damage the accused's life.
This is particularly true when it comes to violent crimes. For example, assault, which has been discussed previously on this blog, can carry serious penalties upon conviction in the state of Michigan. In fact, for a first time offender, an assault conviction could result in up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, for a second assault conviction, that same individual could face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
The harsh punishment doesn't stop there. When an individual is convicted of a third assault charge, he or she could face up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Any subsequent convictions will result in similar penalties, which can be life-changing in more ways than one.
So what does this mean for Michigan residents who are accused of committing a subsequent offense? It means they may be in for a tough battle. Prosecutors will use a previous conviction as evidence against the defendant, and a conviction could strip away an accused individual's freedom, finances and reputation. Therefore, those who are being accused of a subsequent offense and the potential for stricter penalties should think about their legal options and initiating a criminal defense.
Source: Michigan Legislature, "Section 750.81," accessed on Aug. 5, 2016