Habitual Criminal Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Habitual Criminal, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Habitual Criminal?

(n) Habitual criminal is the person involved in multiple and continued criminal activities and does intentional crime as a habit. A habitual criminal does felonies as a part of his life or habit.

History and Meaning of Habitual Criminal

The term "habitual criminal" is a legal term used to describe an individual who repeatedly and intentionally engages in criminal activity. The concept of habitual criminality has existed throughout history, with early English common law identifying habitual offenders as "rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars." In modern times, habitual criminal laws are often used to impose harsher penalties on individuals who have been convicted of multiple crimes.

Examples of Habitual Criminal

  • John has been arrested and convicted of various offenses over the last 10 years, including theft, assault, and drug possession. He has been deemed a habitual criminal and is now facing a longer prison sentence.
  • Mary has a long history of fraud and embezzlement. Despite serving time in prison for her crimes, she continues to engage in illegal activities. She has been labeled as a habitual criminal and is at risk of receiving a more severe sentence for her latest offense.
  • Robert has been arrested multiple times for drug trafficking. He is considered a habitual criminal and is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Legal Terms Similar to Habitual Criminal

  • Recidivist: an individual who repeatedly commits criminal acts or is a repeat offender
  • Persistent offender: a person who is convicted of multiple crimes and is likely to reoffend
  • Career criminal: an individual who makes a living by committing various criminal activities