Q: A different state used a California conviction to enhance their sentence. Is that legal?
The conviction in California was a no-contest plea, and out-of-state enhancement wasn't part of the deal.
A: Yes, Minnesota can use to a California conviction to enhance an offense in Minnesota.
This is a good question.
Based on the information you provided, I will answer this under the assumption that Minnesota is the jurisdiction that is using the California conviction to enhance the sentence, and the California conviction was recent (i.e. less than 15 years old). In this case, yes, it is legal to use a California conviction for purposes of sentencing for an offense that occurred in Minnesota.
As a general matter, a person's sentence in Minnesota is usually governed by that person's criminal history score. Convictions that occurred outside of Minnesota (as well as Federal convictions) can count towards a person's criminal history score, thereby adding points to the person's score, and in turn, result in an enhanced sentence. The court will assign a certain number of points to the person's criminal history score based on convictions from outside of Minnesota, and the number of points depends on the level of the conviction (misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, felony). Ultimately, the criminal history score is used to determine what sentence is appropriate for the Minnesota offense, and in Minnesota, out of state convictions count towards someone's criminal history score.
TL;DR: a person's sentence for a Minnesota offense largely depends on their overall criminal history score. Out of state convictions can add points to the person's overall criminal history score, which may result in an enhanced sentence.
A: Yes, Minnesota can ùse a California conviction to enhance the sentence.
A: Minnesota can use out-of-state prior convictions to enhance a criminal charge (e.g. a misdemeanor becomes a gross misdemeanor, based solely upon a prior conviction.) Minnesota can also use out-of-state prior convictions for purposes of sentencing. However, the defense may be able to mount a "collateral attack" on priors, for various reasons including lack of factual basis in the guilty plea to the prior, and an unconstitutional process leading to the prior conviction. Consult with a criminal a defense attorney about this topic.
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