Term of the Day
Definition - What does Habitual Offender mean?
A habitual offender is a person who has convicted crimes in the past, either in the same area of offense or in different areas. Once a person commits two or more crimes, they could be considered a habitual offender. Another term for a habitual offender is a "career criminal." Harsher punishments against habitual offenders are not a new concept. In fact, longer prison sentences or punishments beyond the maximum for the crime itself have been imposed upon habitual offenders for centuries, arguably since the beginning of mankind.
Habitual Offender Laws
Many states have laws in place that target these type of offenders, making punishments harsher and discouraging them from committing the same crime or various crimes over and over again. And in some cases, if the offender commits yet another crime, they could serve an even longer prison term and larger fines than the usual maximum amount for the crime itself.
Some of these laws require mandatory sentencing for the habitual offender. In these cases, even the minimum sentence must be imposed upon the offender without any possibility of working out a deal for a lesser punishment. An example of this could be revoking a person's license after being convicted of drunk driving multiple times.
In the United States, an example of habitual offender laws include Three Strike Laws, which targets people who have been convicted of serious crimes three or more times. In these cases, the habitual offender could serve the rest of their life in prison to prevent the same offense from happening again.