Second Felony Offense? What You Need to Know
To make mistakes is to be human. Sometimes the decisions we make lead to unanticipated consequences. For people who find themselves in legal trouble for a second or third time, the weight of potential consequences is heavy. When it comes to criminal offenses, these mistakes have the power to completely change the path of your life. Florida law carries stricter penalties for people deemed to be habitual felony offenders, especially in instances of violent offenses. While a criminal defense law firm in West Palm Beach can work to protect your freedom, understanding what’s at stake is important.
If you find yourself facing felony charges after a previous conviction, here’s what you need to know.
What is a Habitual Felony Offender?
As defined by Florida law, a habitual felony offender is someone who has been convicted of two or more felony offenses in this or any other state. This includes felonious offenses which occur:
- During incarceration for the first offense
- While under felony probation
- Within five years of felony conviction or release from prison
Felony offenses involving the purchase or possession of controlled substances do not fall under the same statutes of habitual felony offenses as other charges.
What are the Legal Consequences of Habitual Felony Offense?
Once legal determination of habitual felony offense is determined, the state must serve notice of enhanced penalties for the current charge. While the court is not required to impose enhanced sentences, it may do so if one is determined to be a threat to public safety. Once notice has been properly served, Florida law allows for the maximum penalties to be enhanced as follows:
- Third Degree Felony: five to ten years
- Degree Felony: 15 to 30 years
- First Degree Felony: 30 years to life
Habitual Violent Felony Offenders
People facing changes for a violent felony with a prior record may qualify as a habitual violent offender. These charges include:
- Sexual assault or battery
- Aggravated child abuse
- Aggravated abuse of an elder or disabled adult
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Unlawful possession, placement, or discharge of a destructive device or bomb
- Armed burglary
- Aggravated battery
- Aggravated stalking, and more.
If the court determines the defendant qualifies as a habitual violent felony offender, the enhanced penalties are as follows:
- Third Degree Felony: five to ten years with a minimum of five years
- Second Degree Felony: 15 to 30 years with a minimum of 10 years
- First Degree Felony: 30 years to life with a minimum of 15 years
Your Felony Criminal Defense Law Firm in West Palm Beach
While relevant prior convictions may complicate a case, having the right criminal trial attorney in West Palm Beach on your side can change the course of your future. The Law Office of Patrick McKamey offers over 20 years of legal experience to helping you fight your case. As a former prosecutor, McKamey has an intricate and knowledge of both sides of the legal system. He uses this experience to your benefit, building a solid defense for habitual felony offense charges.