What is an Armed Career Criminal?

The Armed Career Criminal

“Armed career criminal” – sounds pretty serious, right? Well for purposes of federal criminal law it most definitely is. The term applies to a select group of individuals who the federal government find to need more prison time than other convicted felons. If the moniker “armed career criminal” is applied to a criminal defendant during the sentencing

process the judge is required to impose a mandatory sentence that results in years and years in a federal prisons.

How is “Armed Career Criminal” Defined?

The term “armed career criminal” is defined in the federal sentencing guidelines as a defendant who is subject to the enhanced sentence under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). The requirements are:

  1. The defendant had to have been convicted at least three times under 18 USC 922(g)(1) of
    1. A “violent felony” or
    2. A “serious drug offense”
What is an armed career criminal.
The “armed career criminal” moniker can a minimum of 15 years to a convicted felon’s prison sentence.

A “violent felony” conviction is one which has as an element of the crime “the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another” and which is punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than one year.

A “serious drug offense” is any state or federal drug crime which can result in a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment or more.

Additionally, the three separate convictions includes juvenile convictions, which means someone as young as 18 years old could become an “armed career criminal” in a federal court upon a conviction under 18 USC 922(g).

A Criminal Defense Attorney Must Do His Due Diligence

Any time a defendant is being charged under 18 USC 922(g), his attorney must determine whether his client falls under the “armed career criminal” definition if convicted because it will result in a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison. That is the first thing we look at when we get 922(g) cases. If you feel that you may fall under this category we’re happy to discuss the issue with you.

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