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Criminal Sentencing Enhancements

Sentencing Enhancements

What are the sentencing enhancements for California including Orange County? Sentencing enhancements are additional charges within the California Penal Code that allow for additional prison time if an underlying fact or condition is met. For example, in criminal drug cases if one possesses a certain quantity of methamphetamine ("meth") or cocaine (powder or "crack"), the prosecution can add a weight enhancement. This can add an additional term of one year or more to the substantive crime. Sentencing enhancements can be added to many crimes and especially are seen in sex crimes, burglary, and theft. Enhancements are also commonly filed in crimes of violence or when someone has been injured. These are commonly referred to as great bodily injury enhancements, armed enhancements, gang enhancements and so on. 

In order for an enhancement to apply the accused person must first be convicted of the underlying offense. For example, there can be no weight enhancement imposed in a criminal drug case if you are acquitted of the underlying drug charge. The accused person is entitled to have a jury decide the truth of the alleged enhancement. Frequently, it is possible to have enhancements dismissed as part of an arrangement with the prosecution. 

Your criminal law case must be carefully evaluated to determine if the alleged enhancement applies. It is not uncommon for an enhancement to have been mistakenly alleged. For this reason, your attorney must carefully review the entire charging document.

Orange County criminal law attorney Ed Flores can advise you on the different aspects of sentencing enhancements. Mr. Flores handles criminal law cases in Southern California including the entire Orange County area. Contact our law office today.





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