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Criminology 101: Who Is a Habitual Offender?

Many people have heard the term before but aren’t exactly sure what it is. They might have heard it on crime drama shows or on the news. It actually has a legal definition that is specific to a certain kind of criminal.

What Is A Habitual Offender?

A habitual offender is also known as a repeat offender. It refers to a person who has been previously convicted of one or more crimes and is now facing new charges. Habitual offenders tend to commit the same types of crimes over and over again, but  they don’t have to in order to be considered a habitual offender. Some of the more common crimes include robbery, burglary, trespassing and assault; you may want to consider consulting sex assault defense lawyers if your crime is on the more serious end of the scale.

What Is The Habitual Offender Statute?

In order to deter people from becoming habitual offenders, many states have enacted a habitual offender law. For example, some states have enacted punishments becoming more severe with every repeat offence; other states have made it so the offender has to satisfy an increasing number of requirements in order to be up for probation or parole, depending on the type of crime they’ve committed.

What Kind of Penalties Do Habitual Offenders Face?

Penalties are usually dependent on the kind of repeat crimes that are being committed. A habitual offender is most likely to receive a lengthier sentence in prison or a supervised probation. However, if there has been a violent crime or a drug trafficking conviction, then the offender may face at least twenty-five years in prison.

Other penalties could include higher criminal fines, revocation or suspension of a driver’s license, longer jail/prison sentences, or the loss of certain liberties, such as the right to vote, own a firearm, or retain custody of their children.

What Is The “Three Strikes Law”?

A large number of states have implemented what is known as the “three strikes law,” which requires the court to impose a harsher sentence on an offender who has been convicted of a felony or other serious crime on three separate occasions, or on their third conviction.

The reason for this law is to ensure repeat offenders receive a long-enough criminal sentence that will prevent them from being released from jail, only for them to commit the same crimes again. However, the “three strikes law” has been used to punish habitual offenders for minor crimes who would be better off in programs to help them instead of being sent to prison.

In the unfortunate event that you are facing new criminal charges as a habitual offender, then it’s a good idea to consider getting a criminal lawyer on your side to help you navigate the legal system. You’ll be advised of your legal rights, how the habitual offender laws work in your jurisdiction, and will help you to comply with the necessary legal requirements so that your case can have the best outcome.

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