Ways to Prove ''Prior Criminal Convictions'' In Texas

Proof of prior convictions may be made by the use of certified copies of the judgment and sentence and authenticated copies of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Institutional Division records, including fingerprints, supported by expert testimony matching them to the known prints of the defendant. Littles v. State, 726 S.W.2d 26, 31 (Tex.Cr.App. 1984). The State may also prove prior convictions through the testimony of a witness who is acquainted with the defendant and the fact of his prior conviction, and who can identify the defendant; stipulations by or the judicial admission of a defendant; and, matching a photograph of the defendant in a penitentiary packet or other official record to the defendant at trial. Id. While this list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive, these appear to be the simplest and most common methods of proving prior convictions for enhancement of punishment. Beck v. State, 719 S.W.2d 205, 209 (Tex.Cr.App. 1986).