What is a Habitual Felony Offender in Florida?

Being a Habitual Felony Offender (HFO) is not a separate crime, but a way for the State to enhance the crime(s) that you are currently charged with. Whether or not you qualify as a Habitual Felony Offender really depends on what your current charges are and what your prior record looks like. To qualify as a habitual felony offender in Florida, you must

  • Have previously been convicted of any combination of two or more felonies in this state or other qualified offenses.

  • The felony for which you are to be sentenced was committed:

    • While you were 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 5 years of the date of the conviction of your last prior felony or other qualified offense, or within 5 years of your 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 conviction for a felony or other qualified offense, whichever is later.

  • The felony for which you are to be sentenced, and one of the two prior felony convictions, is not a purchase or the possession of a controlled substance.

  • You have not received a pardon for any felony or other qualified offense.

  • 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.

 

What does being a Habitual Felony Offender mean?

If the State intends to seek to classify you as a Habitual Felony Offender, they must file a notice of intent. Often times, the State will use the HFO designation as a negotiating tool to force a plea. If you qualify as a habitual felony offender, your maximum exposure to state prison double. For example, if you are charged with:

  • A 3rd degree felony, your maximum prison sentence doubles from 5 to 10 years.

  • A 2nd degree felony, your maximum prison sentence doubles from 15 to 30 years.

  • A 1st degree felony, your maximum prison sentence increases from 30 years to life.

If the State is seeking to qualify you as a Habitual Felony Offender, it is vitally important to contact us today for a free consultation!