Can I be charged for a crime that I already went to prison for?

UPDATED: Apr 10, 2012

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Can I be charged for a crime that I already went to prison for?

I just got out of prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. I was going into banks and getting fraudulent cash advance transactions with a prepaid debit card. I told the feds about all the banks I could remember I had gone to but I also told them that there are probably some places I couldn’t remember. They ended up charging me with a lot of relevant conduct which is way more than I believe I stole but I pleaded guilty to it anyway. A lawyer has been calling me about another bank that I defrauded. Can they file charges on me even though I went to prison already?

Asked on April 10, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Federal and state laws prohibit double jeopardy... this means that you can't be punished twice for the same conduct.  So... if you went to jail for defrauding Bank A, then neither the state or feds can put you in jail a second time for defrauding Bank A.  However, if while you were in prison, the state learned that you also defrauded Bank B, (and the statute of limitations has not run), then yes, they could come a prosecute you for the crime against Bank B.  It's a little odd though that you mention "a lawyer has been calling me"... usually law enforcement (like a detective or investigator) will be the one calling you in a criminal action.  It's not common for the prosecutor to call and say "by the way we are going to prosecute you for another charge."  If a lawyer is calling you, the bank may be suing you for civil liaibility, which is possible.  In Texas, a judgment which lists a victims and an amount owed to the victim can be enforced by the victim like any civil judgment, even though it arose in a criminal cause.  You may want to visit with a criminal defense attorney just to have them make a few phone calls and get the true status of any new charges against you.

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