A.  Any person who, after having been convicted within this state of a felony, or who, after having been convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States, or any foreign government of a crime which, if committed in this state would be a felony, thereafter commits any subsequent felony within this state, upon conviction of said felony, shall be punished as follows:

 

(1)  If the second felony is such that upon a first conviction the offender would be punishable by imprisonment for any term less than his natural life, then the sentence to imprisonment shall be for a determinate term not less than one-half the longest term and not more than twice the longest term prescribed for a first conviction.

 

(2)(a)  If the second felony and the prior felony are sex offenses as defined in R.S. 15:541, or the prior felony would be a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541, except it occurred prior to June 18, 1992, or the conviction was obtained under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any foreign government, the person shall be sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor for a determinate term not less than two-thirds of the longest possible sentence for the conviction and not more than three times the longest possible sentence prescribed for a first conviction, without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

 

(b)  If the second felony and the prior felony are sex offenses as defined in R.S. 15:541, or the prior felony would be a sex offense as defined in R.S.15:541, except it occurred prior to June 18, 1992, or the conviction was obtained under the laws of any other state, the United States, or any foreign government, and the victims of the previous offense and the instant offense were under the age of thirteen years at the time of the commission of the offense or any part thereof, the person shall be imprisoned for the remainder of his natural life, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

 

(3)  If the third felony is such that upon a first conviction, the offender would be punishable by imprisonment for any term less than his natural life then:

 

(a)  The person shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a determinate term not less than two-thirds of the longest possible sentence for the conviction and not more than twice the longest possible sentence prescribed for a first conviction; or

 

(b)  If the third felony and the two prior felonies are felonies defined as a crime of violence under R.S. 14:2(B), a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:540 et seq. when the victim is under the age of eighteen at the time of commission of the offense, or as a violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law punishable by imprisonment for ten years or more, or any other crimes punishable by imprisonment for twelve years or more, or any combination of such crimes, the person shall be imprisoned for the remainder of his natural life, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

 

(4)  If the fourth or subsequent felony is such that, upon a first conviction the offender would be punishable by imprisonment for any term less than his natural life then:

 

(a)  The person shall be sentenced to imprisonment for the fourth or subsequent felony for a determinate term not less than the longest prescribed for a first conviction but in no event less than twenty years and not more than his natural life; or

 

(b)  If the fourth felony and two of the prior felonies are felonies defined as a crime of violence under R.S. 14:2(B), a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:540 et seq. when the victim is under the age of eighteen at the time of commission of the offense, or as a violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law punishable by imprisonment for ten years or more, or of any other crime punishable by imprisonment for twelve years or more, or any combination of such crimes, the person shall be imprisoned for the remainder of his natural life, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

 

B.  It is hereby declared to be the intent of this Section that an offender need not have been adjudged to be a second offender in a previous prosecution in order to be charged as and adjudged to be a third offender, or that an offender has been adjudged in a prior prosecution to be a third offender in order to be convicted as a fourth offender in a prosecution for a subsequent crime.  Multiple convictions obtained on the same day prior to October 19, 2004, shall be counted as one conviction for the purpose of this Section.

 

C.  The current offense shall not be counted as, respectively, a second, third, fourth, or higher offense if more than ten years have elapsed between the date of the commission of the current offense or offenses and the expiration of the maximum sentence or sentences of the previous conviction or convictions, or between the expiration of the maximum sentence or sentences of each preceding conviction or convictions alleged in the multiple offender bill and the date of the commission of the following offense or offenses.  In computing the intervals of time as provided herein, any period of parole, probation, or incarceration by a person in a penal institution, within or without the state, shall not be included in the computation of any of said ten-year periods between the expiration of the maximum sentence or sentences and the next succeeding offense or offenses.

 

D.(1)(a)  If, at any time, either after conviction or sentence, it shall appear that a person convicted of a felony has previously been convicted of a felony under the laws of this state, or has been convicted under the laws of any other state, or of the United States, or of any foreign government or country, of a crime, which, if committed in this state would be a felony, the district attorney of the parish in which subsequent conviction was had may file an information accusing the person of a previous conviction.  Whereupon the court in which the subsequent conviction was had shall cause the person, whether confined in prison or otherwise, to be brought before it and shall inform him of the allegation contained in the information and of his right to be tried as to the truth thereof according to law and shall require the offender to say whether the allegations are true.  If he denies the allegation of the information or refuses to answer or remains silent, his plea or the fact of his silence shall be entered on the record and he shall be given fifteen days to file particular objections to the information, as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph.  The judge shall fix a day to inquire whether the offender has been convicted of a prior felony or felonies as set forth in the information.

 

(b)  Except as otherwise provided in this Subsection, the district attorney shall have the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt on any issue of fact.  The presumption of regularity of judgment shall be sufficient to meet the original burden of proof.  If the person claims that any conviction alleged is invalid, he shall file a written response to the information.  A copy of the response shall be served upon the prosecutor.  A person claiming that a conviction alleged in the information was obtained in violation of the constitutions of Louisiana or of the United States shall set forth his claim, and the factual basis therefor, with particularity in his response to the information.  The person shall have the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, on any issue of fact raised by the response.  Any challenge to a previous conviction which is not made before sentence is imposed may not thereafter be raised to attack the sentence.

 

(2)  Following a contradictory hearing, the court shall find that the defendant is:

 

(a)  A second offender upon proof of a prior felony conviction.

 

(b)  A third offender, upon proof of two prior felony convictions.

 

(c)  A fourth offender, upon proof of three or more prior felony convictions.

 

(3)  When the judge finds that he has been convicted of a prior felony or felonies, or if he acknowledges or confesses in open court, after being duly cautioned as to his rights, that he has been so convicted, the court shall sentence him to the punishment prescribed in this Section, and shall vacate the previous sentence if already imposed, deducting from the new sentence the time actually served under the sentence so vacated.  The court shall provide written reasons for its determination.  Either party may seek review of an adverse ruling.

 

E.  Whenever it shall become known to any superintendent or prison, probation, parole, police, or other peace officer, that any person charged with or convicted of a felony has been previously convicted, he shall immediately report the fact to the district attorney of the parish in which the charge lies, or the conviction has been had.

 

F.  The certificates of the warden or other chief officer of any state prison, or of the superintendent or other chief officer of any penitentiary of this state or any other state of the United States, or of any foreign country, or of any chief officer of any parish or county jail in this state or any other state of the United States, or of the clerk of court of the place of conviction in the state of Louisiana, under the seal of his office, if he has a seal, containing the name of the person imprisoned, the photograph, and the fingerprints of the person as they appear in the records of his office, a statement of the court in which a conviction was had, the date and time of sentence, length of time imprisoned, and date of discharge from prison or penitentiary, shall be prima facie evidence of the imprisonment and of the discharge of the person, either by a pardon or expiration of his sentence as the case may be under the conviction stated and set forth in the certificate.

 

G.  Any sentence imposed under the provisions of this Section shall be at hard labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence.

 

H.  A person shall not be qualified to be a candidate for elected public office or take elected office if that person has been convicted of a felony, whether convicted within this state or convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States of a crime which, if committed in this state would be a felony, and has not received a pardon therefor.

 

Acts 1956, No. 312, §§1 to 4; Amended by Acts 1958, No. 469, §1; Acts 1978, No. 424, §1; Acts 1979, No. 199, §1; Acts 1982, No. 688, §1; Acts 1987, No. 774, §1; Acts 1989, No. 482, §1; Acts 1991, No. 405, §1; Acts 1993, No. 853, §1; Acts 1993, No. 896, §1; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 23, §1; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 85, §1; Acts 1994, 3rd Ex. Sess., No. 144, §1; Acts 1995, No. 839, §1; Acts 1995, No. 1245, §1; Acts 2001, No. 403, §2, eff. June 15, 2001; Acts 2003, No. 1231, §1; Acts 2005, No. 218, §1; Acts 2010, No. 69, §1; Acts 2010, No. 911, §1; Acts 2010, No. 973, §1, eff. July 6, 2010.

 

Contact Stephen D. Hébert

700 Camp Street, Suite 216 
New Orleans, LA 70130
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