Enhanced Sentence Law and Legal Definition

An enhanced sentence typically means a sentence which is increased by a prior conviction or the serious nature of the circumstances involved from one classification of offense to another higher level classification of offense. Enhanced sentence laws are governed by federal and state laws, which vary by state.

An "enhancement fact" is a fact that is constitutionally required to be found by a jury in order to increase the sentence that may be imposed upon conviction of a crime." The state often must give notice to a defendant that it intends to rely on an enhancement fact by pleading the enhancement fact in the accusatory instrument, or by other timely written notice. Sentencing guidelines may use the words "aggravating factors" to describe facts that a court may rely on to impose a sentence that exceeds the presumptive sentence prescribed in the guidelines for a particular conviction.