What is a Habitual Misdemeanor Offender in Jacksonville, Florida?

There was a law passed in 2004 to deal with people who keep getting arrested and convicted of misdemeanors in Florida. The Florida Legislature made a criminal classification of “Habitual Misdemeanor Offenders”, also referred to as HMO.

To qualify, the defendant has to have been convicted of 4 or more delineated misdemeanors as an adult. Those misdemeanors include:

1. Domestic Battery
2. Assault
3. Weapons Charges
4. Prostitution
5. Indecent Exposure
6. Criminal Mischief
7. Trespass
8. Theft
9. Making False Statements
10. Resisting an Officer Without Violence
11. Loitering or Prowling
12. Possession of Paraphernalia
13. Possession of Less Than 20 Grams of Marijuana

Each offense has to be separate from the others and not part of the same case. They all have to have occurred within one year of the date of the pending misdemeanor. If the court finds that a defendant is a HMO, the judge has to sentence the person to 6 months to a year in jail or sentence the defendant to a residential drug treatment program for at least 6 months. The judge does have the discretion to not impose one of these if he or she makes a finding that another sentence is in the best interests of Jacksonville or the defendant.