HABITUAL OFFENDER, ENHANCEMENT AND TRIGGER LOCK

A habitual offender has been convicted of two prior felonies arising on different occasions. A habitual offender must serve the maximum sentence day-for-day without early release. A life habitual offender has two prior felonies, one of which is violent and has served at least year on each. In this case, a life habitual offender must serve life without parole. These statutory maximums must be weighed against the U.S. Constitution eighth amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Habitual offender sentences may be reduced on this ground.

Enhancement means doubling the penalty for a drug charge because of a prior drug conviction, or possession or sale near a church or playground.

Possession of a firearm in proximity to controlled substance (drugs) also carries extra jail time. Mississippi modeled this provision after the federal trigger lock law.

An indictment can be amended by the court on a motion of the prosecution at any time, even after trial, to include enhancement or habitual offender status.