Habitual offender

Person convicted of a crime who was previously convicted of crimes / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A habitual offender, repeat offender, or career criminal is a person convicted of a crime who was previously convicted of other crimes. Various state and jurisdictions may have laws targeting habitual offenders, and specifically providing for enhanced or exemplary punishments or other sanctions. They are designed to counter criminal recidivism by physical incapacitation via imprisonment.

The nature, scope, and type of habitual offender statutes vary, but generally they apply when a person has been convicted twice for various crimes. Some codes may differentiate between classes of crimes (for example, some codes only deal with violent crime) and the length of time between convictions. Usually, the sentence is greatly enhanced; in some circumstances, it may be substantially more than the maximum sentence for the crime.

Habitual offender laws may provide for mandatory sentencing—in which a minimum sentence must be imposed, or may allow judicial discretion in allowing the court to determine a proper sentence.