Still Another Way to Avoid Prison

         I previously published two articles on this website entitled "Florida Sentencing and Drug Court Programs" and "Amended Law Provides Additional Ways to Avoid Prison."  Both of those articles looked at new laws that make it possible for some people to avoid being sent to prison even though the Florida Sentencing Guidelines call for a prison sentence.

 

         On July 1 of this year, another law--called the Prison Diversion Program--went into effect in Florida that provides still another way for some individuals to avoid going to prison, but only if they meet the following four criteria:

  1. The crime the person committed is a third-degree felony (for which the maximum punishment is 5 years in prison);
  2. The accused individual does not have more than 48 points on the sentencing guidelines, or he has 54 points but 6 of those points are for a violation of probation, community control, or other community supervision, and do not involve a new violation of law;
  3. The person has never been convicted of a forcible felony except for third-degree felonies involving burglary or trespass; and
  4. The crime does not carry a minimum-mandatory sentence.

 

         If a person satisfies these four criteria and the judge decides to not sentence him to prison, then the judge "shall sentence the offender to a term of probation, community control, or community supervision with mandatory participation in a prison diversion program of the Department of Corrections."

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