Armed Career Criminal Enhancement

Armed Career Criminal is an automatically vesting sentencing enhancement that occurs when one is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm contrary to 18 USC 922(g) and has three prior convictions in either State or Federal court for violent felonies or serious drug offenses that have each been committed on different occasions. If one is subject to an Armed Career Criminal enhancement they will face a minimum mandatory 15-year prison sentence and their criminal history will be enhanced to at least a level IV. As mentioned above an individual who has three prior violent felonies or serious drug offenses would be subject to this enhancement if they are charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. It is imperative that a Federal criminal attorney scrutinize each prior crime in an effort to undercut this dreaded enhancement. Prior violent felonies generally have an element involving the use, threat of use, or attempted use of force against another person. Also included as violent felonies are burglaries, arson, extortion, explosives use, and crimes that otherwise involve conduct that presents a serious potential for risk of physical injury to another. Serious drug crimes are those Federal drug crimes with ten years or more as a maximum potential sentence and those State drug crimes involving manufacture, distribution or possession with the intent to manufacture or distribute for which a maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or more. Unlike Career Offender, Armed Career Criminal has no time limit on when the prior predicate offenses occurred. In other words, you could have committed a predicate offense 25 years prior to your current charge and it will still be considered. This enhancement automatically vests without any input from the United States Attorney, your Tampa Federal criminal lawyer, or the Judge and the only way to earn a sentence below 15 years is to earn a substantial assistance motion under Federal Sentencing Guideline 5K1.1 or Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35.

How Can We Help?

Though the Armed Career Criminal enhancement automatically vests, there is always the possibility of challenging the predicate offenses or negotiating the substantive charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm out of a plea agreement. Whether the predicate offense is a violent felony or a serious drug crime, the criminal episode must be discrete and free standing to count as a predicate. In the 11th Circuit, if predicate crimes are committed simultaneously, they should be counted as one singular offense. However, if they are successive, meaning separated by a meaningful opportunity to desist activity before committing the second offense, they are considered as two predicate offenses. While this isn’t easy to comprehend, a skilled Tampa Federal criminal lawyer will give you the best opportunity to dissect potential predicate offenses and negotiate with the United States Attorney’s Office.

Jason Mayberry has the experience and skill to help you if you’ve charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and have been saddled with the Armed Career Criminal enhancement. Contact our office online or at 813-444-7435 or 727-771-3847 today for a consultation.