Your son has been through the "preliminary hearing" process, after which the judge "held him to answer" (HTA'd) on certain criminal charges OR after he waived the hearing (CERT).
He must have previous criminal convictions (PRIORS) which are also alleged in his case. Note that the validity of the PRIORS is usually addressed after a trial on the main case so as not to prejudice the jury against him in this case because he is a convicted felon as a result of other cases.
If he takes his case to jury, the court wants to know whether he will agree to give up the right to have the jury decide whether the PRIORS are valid. If he waived a jury for that particular part of his case, he is still entitled to a trial, but it would be a COURT TRIAL. A court trial is a full trial. However, it is heard before the judge only; the judge becomes the fact-finder the way the jury was in the main case.
There will be a hearing to determine whether or not the prior convictions the DA has charged as enhancements are "true." The DA will present certified copies of your son's convictions, and the court will determine whether your son sustained said convictions. Depending on what convictions he has and how they are charged, any number of enhanced penalties can be added onto your son's sentence. Only his attorney can tell you for sure what he's facing. Good luck.
Mr. Feasel is a former prosecutor in San Mateo County (CA) with over 10 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney/client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Feasel to further investigate your situation, feel free to contact him thru this site.
Well, it sounds like there has been a plea or conviction in the case and the court will be determining whether or not there is sufficient evidence to support the alleged prior convictions in the case. This usually has to do with alleged strike priors and/or prior prison commitments. These court trials are typically done by way of documents submitted to the court for review.
Any statements I make in these forums (fora?) should not be taken as direct legal advice, merely informed guidance. This is true due to the anonymous nature of this venue, and the incomplete information which is invariably provided by the questions. It is imperative that you consult directly with an attorney regarding your specific situation before acting on or relying on anything represented here. Period.
I assume you have retained a criminal defense attorney to represent your son. If not, do so ASAP! We have several experienced criminal defense attorneys on the avvo website that have and/or will respond from CA. I'll defer to them advice on CA law.
I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..