In Florida, prosecutors vigorously seek convictions and often times maximum imprisonment for violent crimes. Federal agencies may even become involved if the offense is classified as a hate crime or has crossed state lines. There are few violent misdemeanors yet most are felonies which include and are not limited to:
- Assault / Aggravated Assault
- Battery / Aggravated Battery
- Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Firearm Offenses
- Sexual Battery
This statutorily enhanced penalty targets career criminals and is mostly prosecuted in Reoffender Court also known as "ROC Court". A habitual offender designation requires only two prior felony convictions. Also, the felony for which the Defendant is to be sentenced was (1) committed while serving a prison sentence, (2) committed within five years of the conviction date of the last prior felony or (3) committed within five years of release from a prison sentence. Habitual violent felony offender is similar except it requires convictions of two enumerated felonies. In effect, the habitual offender statute doubles the maximum sentence allowable under the sentencing guidelines.
Prison Releasee Reoffender
Under "PRR", an individual may be sentenced to the maximum term of imprisonment if the present offense is an enumerated felony and the offense was committed within three years of release from prison, while serving a prison sentence or while on escape from a prison sentence. Once qualified for this designation, sentencing is mandatory and thus gives the court no discretion to mitigate the punishment.
Enhanced penalties also include Violent Career Criminal and Three Time Violent Offender ("three strikes"). Viable exceptions to avoid a long term prison do exist and a skilled criminal defense attorney can assist in zealously challenging an individual's eligibility under the statute.