Three Time Violent Felony Offenders

ST. PETERSBURG CRIMINAL DEFFENSE Lawyer

  • Generally

Florida's Three Time Violent Felony Offender provisions require the court to sentence the accused person to the statutory maximum if certain conditions precedent are satisfied. First, the accused must have been convicted, as an adult, of an enumerated felony, on at least two prior occasions (see below for a list of felony offenses that apply). Second, the person must be charged with an enumerated felony that is before the court for sentencing. This is sometimes referred to as Florida's "Three Strikes Law". Unlike the HFO and HVFO provisions, the court has no discretion to avoid sentencing the defendant as a Three Time Violent Felony Offender when the person otherwise qualifies. Like all of Florida's recidivist sentencing enhancements under s. 775.084, the sentencing guidelines no longer apply.

The "Three Strikes" provisions are similar to the PRR provisions in that both require the court to sentence the defendant to the maximum lawful penalty upon conviction, but differ in that the "Three Strikes" provisions do not take into account the date of the prior convictions and/or the date the accused was released from prison (if applicable). "Three Strikes" differs from the HFO and HVFO provisions in that the otherwise applicable statutory maximum is not increased to any extent, but there is no longer a sentencing "range". Also, the Three Time Violent Felony Offender is not entitled to any form of early release.

  • Applicable Florida Statutes

The following is a list of Florida statutes that relate to Habitual Felony Offenders and sentencing implications:

  • Florida statutes § 775.084(1)(c) provides as follows:

(1) As used in this act: (c) "Three-time violent felony offender" means a defendant for whom the court must impose a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, as provided in (4)(c), if it finds that: 1. The defendant has previously been convicted as an adult two or more times of a felony, or an attempt to commit a felony, and two or more of such convictions were for committing, or attempting to commit, any of the following offenses or combination thereof: a. Arson; b. Sexual battery; c. Robbery; d. Kidnapping; e. Aggravated child abuse; f. Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult; g. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; h. Murder; i. Manslaughter; j. Aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult; k. Aggravated manslaughter of a child; l. Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; m. Armed burglary; n. Aggravated battery; o. Aggravated stalking; p. Home invasion robbery; q. Carjacking; or r. An offense which is in violation of a law of any other jurisdiction if the elements of the offense are substantially similar to the elements of any felony offense enumerated in sub-paragraphs a.-q. or an attempt to commit any such felony offense. 2. The felony for which the defendant is to be sentenced is one of the felonies enumerated in subparagraphs 1.a.-q. and was committed: a. While the defendant was serving a prison sentence or other sentence imposed as a result of a prior conviction for any offense enumerated in subparagraphs 1.a.-r.; or b. Within 5 years after the date of the conviction of the last prior offense enumerated in subparagraphs 1.a.-r. or within five years after the defendant's release from a prison sentence, probation, community control, or other sentence imposed as a result of a prior conviction for any offense enumerated in subparagraphs 1.a.-r., whichever is later. 3. The defendant has not received a pardon on the ground of innocence for any crime that is necessary for the operation of this paragraph. 4. A conviction of a crime necessary to the operation of this paragraph has not been set aside in any post conviction proceeding.

  • Florida statute 775.084(3)(b) provides as follows:

(3)(b) In a separate proceeding, the court shall determine if the defendant is a three time violent felony offender. The procedure shall be as follows: 1. The court shall obtain and consider a pre-sentence investigation prior to the imposition of a sentence as a three time violent felony offender. 2. Written notice shall be served on the defendant and the defendant's attorney a sufficient time prior to the entry of a plea or prior to the imposition of sentence in order to allow the preparation of a submission on behalf of the defendant. 3. Except as provided in subparagraph 1., all evidence presented shall be presented in open court with full rights of confrontation, cross-examination, and representation by counsel. 4. Each of the findings required as the basis for such sentence shall be found to exist by a preponderance of the evidence and shall be appealable to the extent normally applicable to similar findings. 5. For the purpose of identification of a three time violent felony offender, the court shall fingerprint the defendant pursuant to s. 921.241.6. For an offense committed on or after October 1st, 1995, if the state attorney pursues a three time violent felony offender sanction against the defendant, and the court, in a separate proceeding pursuant to this paragraph, determines that the defendant meets the criteria under subsection (1) for imposing such sanction, the court must sentence the defendant as a three time violent felony offender, subject to imprisonment pursuant to this section as provided in paragraph (4)(c).

  • Florida statute § 775.084(4)(c) provides as follows:

(4)(c)1. The court, in conformity with the procedure established in paragraph (3)(b), must sentence the three time violent felony offender to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment as follows: a. In the case of a felony punishable by life, to a term of imprisonment for life; b. In the case of a felony of the first degree, to a term of imprisonment of 30 years; c. In the case of a felony of the second degree, for a term of imprisonment of 15 years; or d. In the case of a felon of the third degree, to a term of imprisonment of five years. 2. Nothing in this subsection shall prevent a court from imposing a greater sentence of incarceration as authorized by law.

  • Florida statute § 775.084(4)(h) provides as follows:

(h) A sentence imposed under this section is not subject to 921.002.


Where an accused person qualifies as a Three Time Violent Felony Offender, the court must sentence him or her to the statutory maximum. If you have been designated a Three Time Violent Felony Offender, The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. can help. Call (727) 491-5886 to schedule an appointment at our St. Petersburg office. We represent clients throughout the Tampa Bay area.


  • Florida statutes § 775.084(4)(k)3. provides as follows:
For an offense committed on or after July 1st, 1993, a defendant sentenced under this section as a three time violent felony offender shall be released only by expiration of sentence and shall not be eligible for parole, control release, or any form of early release.
  • ​Resources

The following is a list of outside sources, blog posts and other website sections on topics related to three time violent offenders.

  • Links
  1. Hg. Org: St. Petersburg Three Time Violent Felony Offender Defense Attorney.
  • Blog Posts
  1. Do I Need a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney?
  2. Florida's Principal Statute: All For One and One For All
  3. Inchoate (Incomplete) Crimes: Attempt, Solicitation and Conspiracy
  • Related sections
  1. Affecting the Filing Decision
  2. Habitual Felony Offenders
  3. Habitual Violent Felony Offenders
  4. Prison Releasee Re-offenders
  5. Arson
  6. Sexual offenses
  7. Robbery
  8. Kidnapping
  9. Aggravated assault
  10. Burglary
  11. Aggravated battery
  12. Carjacking
  • The Bottom Line

Florida's Three Time Violent Felony Offender provisions are similar to its PRR provisions in that (1) the court has no discretion to avoid the designation where the person qualifies; and (2) the court must sentence the person to the statutory maximum for the offense that is before it for sentencing. As with all criminal cases, the sooner an experienced criminal defense attorney can become involved, the better chance the accused person will have for a favorable outcome. For example, where the person is facing a potential "Three Strikes" enhancement, the filing of an alternative charge, that is not enumerated in the statute, would avoid the enhancement altogether. Florida's recidivist sentencing provisions are severe and experienced representation is crucial. Contact our St. Petersburg office to discuss the circumstances of your case and what options may be available.