What is “multi bill” and how does it affect my sentence in Louisiana?

“Multi bill”, or in some jurisdictions, “bitching” is slang for a habitual offender adjudication that will establish a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment and eliminate the possibility for early release for good behavior or good time. As a general rule, invoking the multi bill will establish a minimum sentence that is either ½ or ⅔ of the maximum penalty for the convicted offense depending upon whether you are a second or third offender respectively. For example, let’s assume someone was convicted of possessing cocaine. This crime carries a maximum sentence of 5 years or 60 months. As a second offender, the minimum penalty would be half of that– 2.5 years or 30 months. As a third offender, the minimum penalty is ⅔ of 5 years- nearly 3.5 years or 40 months. Typically, a second or third conviction will double the maximum penalty. So, in the previous example, someone adjudicated a habitual offender on possession of cocaine will have a maximum penalty of 10 years whether they are adjudicated a second or third felony offender. Again, any sentence served is “flat” or “day for day” meaning you must serve the entire sentence and are not eligible for an early release for good behavior. Anyone adjudicated a fourth felony offender is subject to facing a minimum of 20 years in jail and a maximum of life regardless of the crime’s penalty range. Now, certain offenders can face mandatory life in jail depending upon the seriousness of their current and previous convictions. Colloquially, these offenders are known as triple and quad lifers. The habitual offender law does have a ten year cleansing period, meaning that older convictions can not be used against you once ten years have elapsed. However, any time spent in jail or on probation or parole will not count towards satisfying those 10 years. So, in practice, the cleansing period is much longer than 10 years.

Lastly,while the multi bill does eliminate “good-time” eligibility, it does not eliminate parole eligibility for everyone so there may be the possibility of parole down the road.

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