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Sentencing Guidelines

Florida’s Sentencing Guidelines for Misdemeanors and Felonies 

Crimes have been committed for as long as Florida has been a state. The judicial discretion in sentencing had wide boundaries and sentences for similar crimes varied substantially, but since October 1, 1983, have been structured and balanced for fairness. Individuals convicted of a crime deserve to know what their sentence may be, without leaving it up to the judge to sentence without parameters.

Maximum Statutory Penalties a Convicted Individual Can Receive

Offense Prison time (years)
Felony of the Third Degree 5
Felony of the Second Degree 15
Felony of the First Degree 30
Life Felony Life in Prison

The 1995 Sentencing Guidelines

The “Crime Control Act of 1995” heralded substantial amendments to previous sentencing guidelines. 

Sentencing guidelines in Florida:

  • Provide for a uniform set of standards to guide sentencing decisions.
  • Evaluate relevant factors present at sentencing relating to the offense and the defendant’s prior criminal behavior.
  • Are attempts to provide for “truth in sentencing” and eliminate unwarranted disparity in sentencing decisions.
  • Focus on ensuring that the punishment is commensurate with the offense before the court for sentencing
  • Are mathematically based and provide a means to address several policy areas. Every assessment of points reflects the relative severity of a criminal behavior.

 Florida’s Department of Corrections Responsibilities

The Department of corrections has responsibilities, which include:

  1. To carry out development of the score sheet and any revisions of the score sheet. These drafts are sent to the Supreme Court for approval. After approval, the department must then supply the sentencing guideline and Code score sheets to the appropriate criminal justice entities in the state.
  2. Prepare score sheets. The department shares this responsibility with state attorneys. Accordingly, the department primarily prepares score sheets in 10 of the 20 judicial circuits of the state.
  3. By assisting the Criminal Justice Estimating Conference, estimate the correctional impact of proposed changes to the code
  4. Develop an annual report of:
    1. The rate of compliance of each judicial circuit in providing score sheets to the department,
    2. The trends in sentencing and an analysis of referenced trends, and afterwards send both reports to the legislature by October 1 of each year.

Felonies and Misdemeanors

Felonies and misdemeanors is how Florida law divides crimes. Felonies in Florida are punishable by death or incarceration in state prison. Felonies are classified as life, first, second, or third degree. Misdemeanors are less serious and punishable by up to one year in county jail. 

Life Felonies

Life felonies, such as murder,  are the most serious crimes in Florida. Life felonies are punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

First Degree Felonies

Felonies of the first degree, such as aggravated battery are usually punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Second Degree Felonies

A felony of the second degree, such as selling marijuana, can result in a prison term of up to 15 years and a fine of not more than $10,000.

Third Degree Felonies

Felonies of the third degree, such as auto theft, are the least serious types of felonies in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Prior Felony Convictions

People in Florida who have previously been convicted of two or more felonies and are convicted of yet another felony may be sentenced to a lengthy prison term under the Three Strikes Law.

Felony Convictions

A felony conviction will include imprisonment, it will also make it hard to obtain a job, qualify for government benefits, run for office, or buy a gun. If you are charged with a felony in Florida, you should talk to a local criminal defense attorney about your case.

Criminal Defense Attorney West Palm Beach

Ronald Chapman

If you have been charged or believe you will be, contact Ronald Chapman. Ronald Chapman is knowledgeable about Florida’s sentencing for misdemeanors and felonies. Ronald Chapman is an  experienced defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of the Florida criminal court system and is dedicated to his clients. Ronald Chapman can help you with your case.

  Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help. Schedule your FREE Consultation! Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his website.

 Visit us at https://www.justiceflorida.com/ You can also connect with the West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Office online today! Ronald Chapman, an experienced criminal defense lawyer, dedicated to defending your rights. Contact him today to begin to discuss your case.

 

Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
400 Clematis Street, Suite 206
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
561-832-4348

  

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