What is a Habitual Violent Felony Offender in Florida?

Being a Habitual Violent Felony Offender (HVFO) 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 Violent Felony Offender in Florida, you must:

  • Be charged with a second degree felony or higher;

  • The charged offense must be an enumerated violent felony;

  • You must have at least one prior conviction for an enumerated violent felony; and

  • The felony for which the defendant is to be sentenced was committed within five years of the date of the conviction for the last enumerated violent felony, release from prison, or other supervision.

What Does Being a Habitual Violent Felony Offender Mean?

If the State intends to seek to classify you as a Habitual Violent Felony Offender, they must file a notice of intent. Often times, the State will use the HVFO designation as a negotiating tool to force a plea. If you qualify as a Habitual Violent Felony Offender, your maximum exposure to state prison doubles. Additionally, there are certain minimum sentences the court must impose. For example, if you are charged with:

  • 3rd degree felony – your maximum expose is 10 years, and you are not eligible for release for 5 years.

  • 2nd degree felony – your maximum expose is 30 years, and you are not eligible for release for 10 years.

  • 1st degree felony or life offense – your maximum exposure is life, and you are not eligible for release for 15 years.

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