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Violent Career Criminal

Florida ranks among one of the most violent states in the country. For example, in 1996 the State of Florida had the highest violent crime rate of any state, exceeding the national average by 66 percent. Despite the number of report violent crimes in Florida, the state ranks lower in incarceration rates than many other states with lower violent crime rates. 

For example, in 1997, only 15.6 percent of all persons convicted of a felony were sentenced to state prison. The state had the second lowest rate of incarcerated felons since 1984. For the next seven out of eight years, Florida’s rate of incarceration for felons continued to decline. 

The Florida legislature wanted to give priority to the incarceration of career criminals for extended prison terms. The prospect of extended prisons terms with substantial minimum terms of imprisonment was expected to incapacitate the offender, thereby preventing future crimes and reducing the violent crime rate. Priority was also given to incarcerating criminals who use guns during the commission of violent crimes. 

Florida Statute §775.084 for Violent Career Criminals was created to address these concerns. The statute for Violent Career Criminals includes provisions for:


Habitual Felony Offender

The definition of “Habitual Felony Offender” is a defendant for whom the court may impose an extended term of imprisonment, as provided in paragraph §775.084 (4)(a), if it finds that:

  1.  The defendant has previously been convicted of any combination of two or more felonies in this state or other qualified offenses.
  2. The felony for which the defendant is to be sentenced was committed: 
      • While the defendant was serving a prison sentence or other sentence, or court-ordered or lawfully imposed supervision that is imposed as a result of a prior conviction for a felony or other qualified offense; or
      • Within five years of the date of the conviction of the defendant’s last prior felony or other qualified offense, or within five years of the defendant’s release from a prison sentence, probation, community control, control release, conditional release, parole or court-ordered or lawfully imposed supervision or other sentence that is imposed as a result of a prior convictions for a felony or other qualified offense, whichever is later.
  3. The felony for which the defendant is to be sentenced, and one of the two prior felony convictions, is not a violation of s.893.13 relating to the purchase or the possession of a controlled substance.
  4. The defendant has not received a pardon for any felony or other qualified offense that is necessary for the operation of this paragraph.
  5. A conviction of a felony or other qualified offense necessary to the operation of this paragraph has not been set aside in any post-conviction proceeding.

Habitual Violent Felony Offender

Under Florida law, the term "Habitual Violent Felony Offender" is defined as a defendant for whom the court may impose an extended term of imprisonment, as provided in paragraph §775.084 (4)(b), if it finds that:


Three-Time Violent Felony Offender

Under Florida law, the term "Three-Time Violent Felony Offender: a defendant for whom the court must impose a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as provided in paragraph §775.084 (4)(c), if it finds that:

Violent Career Criminal 

The term "Violent Career Criminal" is defined as a defendant for whom the court must impose imprisonment pursuant to paragraph §775.084 (4)(d), if it finds that:


 HFOHVFOVCCPBL
Sentencing Discretionary Discretionary Discretionary Mandatory
Gain Time Eligible Eligible Eligible Ineligible
         

Third

Degree Felony  

Up to ten years in prison   Up to ten years

Ineligible for early release during first five years of the sentence
Up to fifteen years in prison.

Ineligible for early release during the first ten years of the sentence
Up to five years in prison.

Ineligible for early release and must serve 100% of the sentence

Second

Degree Felony      

Up to 30 years in prison. Up to thirty years in prison

Ineligible for early release during first ten years of the sentence            
Up to forty years in prison              

Ineligible for early release during first thirty years of the sent 
Up to fifteen years in prison

Must serve 100‰ of the sentence and ineligible for early release

Third

Degree Felony

Life in    

prison        

Up to thirty years in prison
 
Ineligible for early release during

first ten years of the sentence

         Life in prison                Up to thirty years in prison

 Ineligible for early release and must serve 100% of the sentence
Life Felony          Life in     prison Up to life in prison.

Ineligible for early release during the first 15 years of the sentence.
Life in prison Up to life in prison

Ineligible for early release and must serve 100% of the sentence
         

Additional Resources

775.084 - Violent career criminals - Visit the Online Sunshine website of the Florida Legislature to learn more about Florida’s statute for violent career criminals. The statute explains enhanced penalties or mandatory minimum prison terms for a defendant classified as three-time violent felony offenders, habitual felony offenders and habitual violent felony offenders. 

Tough Times in the Sunshine State - Visit the Florida Bar Journal to learn more about efforts by the Florida legislature to take aim at repeat and violent offenders through the enactment of several new mandatory sentencing measures. This article can be found in the November issues from 1999, Volume LXXIII, No. 10. 


Attorney for Violent Crimes in Miami

If you are charged with a crime and subject to repeat offender sentencing in Miami or Miami-Dade County, Florida, then contact E.J. Hubbs to discuss the best ways to mount an effective defense. 

The initial consultation is free. During the free consultation, you can talk with E.J. Hubbs about the facts of your case, potential penalties, and the best defenses to fight a serious felony charge involving a crime of violence.

 


This article on violent crimes in Florida was last updated on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

 

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