Habitual Offender Law and Legal Definition

A habitual offender is a status usually given to a repeat felony offender. If a person has committed two or three previous felonies or numerous misdemeanors, they may be subject to being labelled a habitual offender.

If labelled a habitual offender, increased penalties apply to subsequent crimes committed. The crime itself may also be ranked as a more serious class if committed by a habitual offender. The amount of time served on the sentence is increased also, with less opportunity for reduction of sentences for good behavior and similar reductions. A person who has been previously convicted of a crime may be subject to being classified as a habitual offender for committing subsequent crimes. and generally state laws don't require that this warning be given upon initial convictions. Habitual offender laws vary by state, so consult the law in your area to determine applicable requirements.