§ 12-19-21. Habitual criminals.
(a) If any person who has been previously convicted in this or any other state of two (2) or more felony offenses arising from separate and distinct incidents and sentenced on two (2) or more occasions to serve a term in prison is, after the convictions and sentences, convicted in this state of any offense punished by imprisonment for more than one year, that person shall be deemed a "habitual criminal." Upon conviction, the person deemed a habitual criminal shall be punished by imprisonment in the adult correctional institutions for a term not exceeding twenty-five (25) years, in addition to any sentence imposed for the offense of which he or she was last convicted. No conviction and sentence for which the person has subsequently received a pardon granted on the ground that he or she was innocent shall be considered a conviction and sentence for the purpose of determining whether the person is a habitual criminal.
(b) Whenever it appears a person shall be deemed a "habitual criminal," the attorney general, within forty-five (45) days of the arraignment, but in no case later than the date of the pretrial conference, may file with the court a notice specifying that the defendant, upon conviction, is subject to the imposition of an additional sentence in accordance with this section; provided, that in no case shall the fact that the defendant is alleged to be a habitual offender be an issue upon the trial of the defendant, nor shall it be disclosed to the jury. Upon any plea of guilty or nolo contendere or verdict or finding of guilty of the defendant, a hearing shall be held by the court sitting without a jury to determine whether the person so convicted is a habitual criminal. Notice shall be given to the defendant and the attorney general at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing. Duly authenticated copies of former judgments and commitments which comprise the two (2) or more prior convictions and imprisonments required under this section shall be prima facie evidence of the defendant's former convictions and imprisonments. If it appears by a preponderance of the evidence presented that the defendant is a habitual criminal under this section, he or she shall be sentenced by the court to an additional consecutive term of imprisonment not exceeding twenty-five (25) years; and provided further, that the court shall order the defendant to serve a minimum number of years of the sentence before he or she becomes eligible for parole.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 285, § 68; P.L. 1896, ch. 336, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 354, § 68; G.L. 1909, ch. 354, § 71; P.L. 1915, ch. 1261, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 407, § 71; G.L. 1938, ch. 625, § 64; impl. am. P.L. 1956, ch. 3721, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 12-19-21; P.L. 1982, ch. 226, §§ 1, 2; P.L. 1988, ch. 402, § 1.)