How Do Enhancements Affect A Defendant In A Florida Criminal Case?
Under Florida law, certain repeat offenders are considered more dangerous than others due to their propensity to re-offend in the future. As a result, the criminal statutes treat these individuals more harshly under “enhanced” sentencing, which essentially means extending the amount of time you are in prison or applying mandatory minimum sentencing. Because the increase in incarceration can be significant, it is critical to talk to an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney about options to fight the enhancements.
Prison Releasee Reoffender (PRR)
If you are charged with certain crimes listed under Florida’s sentencing statute within three years after being released from incarceration on a felony offense, your status for purposes of sentencing is PRR. In such a case, Florida’s normal sentencing guidelines do not apply and you are not eligible for release on good behavior. The mandatory minimums are:
- Five years for a Third Degree Felony;
- 15 years for a Second Degree Felony;
- 30 years for a First Degree Felony; and,
- Life Felonies are life in prison.
Habitual Felony Offender (HFO)
If you commit a combination of two or more felonies under the following circumstances, you are considered an HFO for purposes of sentencing on the current felony:
- You were serving a sentence at the time;
- You were charged within five years after a previous felony; or,
- You committed the offense within five years after release from prison.
As compared to a non-HFO, sentencing as an HFO increases significantly. You face a maximum of 10 years for a Third Degree Felony, 30 years for a Second Degree Felony, and Life for a First Degree Felony.
Habitual Violent Felony Offender (HVFO)
For certain convictions in your past, including arson, manslaughter, robbery, and some aggravated crimes, you may be treated as an HVFO. The same three qualifying factors that apply to an HFO impact your sentencing; however, the difference is that the current conviction triggers mandatory minimum sentencing. A judge may order:
- Up to 10 and not less than five years’ incarceration for a Third Degree Felony;
- At least 10 and up to 30 years in prison for a Second Degree Felony; and,
- A minimum of 15 years and maximum of life imprisonment for a First Degree Felony.
Violent Career Criminal (VCC)
The most serious enhancement for purposes of sentencing is VCC, as status you may receive if convicted as an adult three or more times for violent crimes, including:
- Forcible felonies;
- Aggravated child abuse;
- Aggravated stalking;
- Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult; and,
- Others designated by Florida statute.
Once again, the qualifications for an HFO apply, so you could be labeled a VCC if you were incarcerated, charged within five years after a previous qualifying offense, or committed the crime within five years after your release. Your potential penalties increase to:
- A minimum of 10 and maximum of 15 years for a Third Degree Felony;
- At least 30 and up to 40 years for a Second Degree Felony; and,
- Life imprisonment for a First Degree or Life Felony.
Schedule an Appointment with a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
For more information on enhancements in Florida criminal cases, please contact the Fort Lauderdale, FL offices of attorney Kevin J. Kulik. Our legal team can schedule a confidential consultation to review your circumstances.