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How Do Prior Convictions Affect the Defense in New Drug Charge Cases?

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Are Previous Convictions Admissible at Trial for New Charges?

Facing drug charges can be stressful, given that the legal consequences of a conviction can be severe and life-altering. Your sentencing can further be complicated if you have prior related convictions, which can result in more serious charges. The prosecutor could also refuse to offer a plea bargain.

One way to avoid stiffer penalties based on previous convictions is to retain skilled lawyers from a law firm in Overland Park. They can analyze your situation, help you understand how past convictions can affect your new case, and help you develop a strategy to minimize the impact while fighting for the most favorable outcome.

What Are the Legal Penalties of Multiple Drug Crime Convictions?

Kansas has stringent laws against drug crimes, and multiple convictions can lead to hefty fines, extended probation periods, and even imprisonment. You could also have your driver’s license suspended or revoked if you’re convicted of subsequent charges.

Drug charges lawyers in Overland Park explain that one thing prosecutors and police officers do is to evaluate a defendant’s criminal history. If they establish you have past drug charges or convictions, they’ll likely make your current charges more severe, and the sentence is likely to be enhanced.

If you plead guilty or earn a conviction in the new case, your past record could be the basis of your sentencing. In some cases, the law requires courts to impose more severe penalties. In other cases, judges have the discretion in sentencing and could impose harsher penalties.

What is the Impact of Prior Convictions on New Drug Charges?

Apart from the harsh penalties you risk due to previous drug convictions, you risk other consequences that can significantly affect the case outcome. Overland Park drug charges attorneys highlight some of these effects:

Bail and Pretrial Release

A judge will consider your criminal record when determining whether to issue bail and the amount to set. A past criminal record can attract higher bail amounts or even denial. Courts consider past convictions an indication of a higher risk of reoffending or failing to appear in court.

Being denied bail can complicate your ability to prepare your defense, as you may be forced to do so from behind bars. Aggressive Overland Park drug charges attorneys can provide legal representation during the bail hearing to fight for your rights to a fair bail amount.

Probation and Parole Decisions

Past convictions can affect probation and parole decisions concerning your current drug charges. A judge could impose stricter probation conditions or deny parole. Multiple drug convictions could have you labeled a habitual offender, subjecting you to enhanced penalties and mandatory minimum sentences.

When Can a Judge Allow Evidence of a Prior Conviction to Be Used Against You?

Before a judge can decide whether to allow evidence or previous convictions in current drug charges, they must evaluate whether the evidence will help the jury assess the witness’s credibility. The evidence must also not unduly prejudice the defendant.

Evidence or prior convictions carry the likelihood of being convicted on the assumption that the defendant is a bad person. Drug charges attorneys in Overland Park say that some factors that judges consider in deciding whether to allow past convictions at trial are:

  • The length of time that has passed since the last conviction
  • Whether the past crime indicates you’re dishonest
  • The length of imprisonment, if any
  • The specifics of the charges
  • Your age at the time of the conviction
  • Whether your credibility is central to the current case
  • Your conduct since the previous conviction
  • The importance of your testimony on the current case (you could refuse to testify if prior convictions will come in)

Your lawyers can evaluate these factors and fight to prevent evidence of your past criminal convictions from being used against you in court.

Can I Challenge Prior Convictions in Current Drug Charges?

If you’re facing current drug charges and have a previous conviction record, you need to fight the charges harder than you did the prior charges.

You can also challenge the previous record to minimize its impact on the current charges. Skilled Overland Park drug defense attorneys can use one of the following defenses to protect your rights:

Contextualizing Past Convictions

Your lawyers can provide the context for your past crimes to reduce their impact on the current charges. For example, they can argue that the past charges were because of extenuating circumstances, such as addiction or mental health issues. Evidence of rehabilitation can persuade the court to be more lenient.

Challenging the Validity of Past Convictions

Another viable approach is to challenge the validity of your past convictions. If any of the evidence was obtained unlawfully or there were procedural errors, your lawyers can challenge the records and potentially overturn them to reduce the impact on your current case.

Suppressing Prior Convictions

Depending on the case specifics, your Overland Park drug charges attorneys can file a motion to suppress past convictions from being presented to the jury. This is especially true if the sentence is irrelevant to the current charges. A motion to suppress can prevent undue prejudice and enhance the chances of a fair trial.

A Skilled Drug Charges Attorney Protecting You from the Impact of Past Convictions

Drug charges can be complex and have the potential to attract severe penalties. A history of prior convictions can make the charges worse, so having experienced drug charges attorneys to defend you is crucial. They can analyze the case specifics and help you develop a tailored defense strategy to mitigate the impact of your past criminal record while advocating for a fair outcome.

Barnds Law LLC provides legal representation for clients facing drug charges in Kansas. If you’re going through trial with past convictions, you risk heftier penalties, but we can help you fight for a favorable outcome. Call us at 913-270-0505 to schedule a case strategy.

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