In Kentucky, the concept of a Persistent Felony Offender (PFO) is created by Kentucky Revised Statute 532.080 which authorizes additional punishment for people who are at least twenty-one (21) years of age and have been convicted of multiple felonies within a given time period.
The amount of time is difficult to explain because it can be calculated multiple ways.
The two most likely ways to qualify as a Persistent Felony Offender are (1) having been released from incarceration for a previous felony within the five (5) years of committing another felony and; (2) committing a felony while on any type of post incarceration supervision.
Additionally, the defendant must have been at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time they were convicted of the prior felony.
Instead of being sentenced under the standard felony guidelines contained in Kentucky Revised Statute 532.060, PFOs receive longer sentences. How much longer the sentence is depends upon whether the defendant is convicted of being a Persistent Felony Offender in the First or Second Degree and the severity of the crime for which the defendant has just been convicted. The amount of additional time can vary wildly depending upon the circumstances of the defendant.
Avoiding this additional sentencing after you are convicted of a qualifying felony is not realistically possible if you meet the criteria laid out in the Persistent Felony Offender statute.
Often a prosecutor will allow a defendant to plead guilty and agree to not pursue sentencing as a Persistent Felony Offender or to allow the defendant to enter an Alford plea which by statute does not trigger the Persistent Felony Offender statute. This decision is something that should always be discussed with a competent attorney because the situation of a particular criminal defendant is what will determine the best course of action.
If you would like to talk to one of our attorneys about this or any other topic involving criminal defense, please contact us at Hurst & Hurst Law at (859) 209-2101.