Massachusetts Habitual Criminal Law

Massachusetts General Laws chapter 279, section 25, provides for the Punishment of Habitual Criminals, or is better known as the "3 Strikes Law".  This provision provides for enhancement sentencing penalties for persons convicted of a felony who have been previously twice convicted and sentenced to a state or federal prison for a term of not less than 3 years. 

Under section 25(a), upon the 3rd conviction, the person is considered a "habitual criminal" and shall be imprisoned in prison for the maximum term provided for that felony, and are not eligible for parole until 2/3 of the maximum sentence is served

For example, if a person was charged with Aggravated Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, which carries a maximum state prison sentence of 15 years, the person convicted as a Habitual Criminal must be sentenced to a minimum-mandatory sentence of 15 years.

Additionally, effective August 2012, section 25(b) sets forth several offenses that qualify as "strikes".  See Qualifying Strikes for Habitual Offenders.  Habitual Offender convictions pursuant to section 25(b) also subject the offender to the maximum sentence for the felony for which he was convicted, but eliminates the possibility of parole, probation, good time, furlough or work release.

Section 25(c) precludes delinquency and youthful offender convictions from being used as predicate offenses. 

Section 25(d) mandates that the court shall inform every defendant that a conviction or guilty plea to any qualifying offense that the Habitual Offender could be implicated and that upon a conviction or guilty plea for a third or subsequent offense (1) the defendant may be imprisoned for the maximum term provided for that 3rd offense; (2) that that sentence may not be reduced or suspended; and (3) that he might then be ineligible for probation, parole work release or furlough, or to receive any deduction in sentence for good time.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation for all Massachusetts Criminal Charges.

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