What Is Florida’s Mandatory Minimum Sentencing?
On July 1, 1999, the Florida Legislature implemented changes to its sentencing guidelines for certain felony crimes. The law is officially entitled Florida Statute 775.087; unofficially it is called Florida’s “10-20- Life law”. The law effectively specifies certain categories of criminal sentencing where the underlying felony crime involved a firearm. The law mandates a judge to issue the maximum allowable sentence under the guidelines.
Under the law, only the prosecutor may waive a mandatory minimum sentence at the time of sentencing. In addition, the prosecutor may waive a mandatory minimum sentence that concerns a repeat offender under certain circumstances:
What Felony Crimes Are Subject to the Law?
The felony crimes subject to the law are as follows:
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated battery
- Aircraft piracy
- Aggravated child abuse
- Aggravated abuse of an elderly person
- Unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb
- Home invasion robbery
- Aggravated stalking
- Drug trafficking and capital importation of cocaine and other illegal drugs.
- Possession of firearm by a felon
What are the Categories of Minimum Sentences?
10-year minimum mandatory sentence
A defendant who produces a firearm during the commission of certain felonies is mandated to serve a 10-year sentence.
The mandatory sentence is decreased to 3 years if the defendant is convicted for aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a felon, or burglary of a conveyance (boat, car, etc.).
The mandatory sentence is increased to 15-years if the defendant possessed a machine gun or a semi-automatic gun with a high capacity box magazine.
20—year minimum mandatory sentence
A defendant who discharges a firearm during the commission of certain felonies is mandated to serve a 20-year prison sentence.
25-year minimum mandatory sentence to Life
A defendant who shoots someone during the commission of certain felonies is mandated to serve a minimum 25-year to a life sentence. It does not matter whether the victim is killed or injured during the felony.
Exception: if the defendant is charged with felony murder or first degree murder the maximum sentence is the death penalty.
Amendments to the Law
In March 2013 the Florida Supreme Court returned to the court judge the discretion to determine whether multiple sentences should be served consecutively (in succession)or concurrently (simultaneous).
In July 2016 a legislative amendment returned to the court judge the discretion to determine mitigating factors during sentencing, specifically for instances of unintended consequences. Examples of such cases are Florida’s “stand your ground”.
2016 Amendments to other mandatory minimum sentences
The amendment also established or increased other mandatory minimum sentences.
3-Year minimum mandatory sentence
Committing aggravated assault with a firearm
Committing aggravated assault on a police officer
Committing aggravated assault on a person aged 65 years or older
5-Year minimum mandatory sentence
Committing aggravated battery on an officer
8-Year minimum mandatory sentence
Committing a battery on an officer or person aged 65 years or older while possessing a machine gun or semiautomatic firearm.
Drug Trafficking minimum mandatory sentence
A drug trafficking felony conviction will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 7-years, 15-years, or 25-years, life or death, depending on the type and amount of the drug involved, and whether the crime resulted in anyone’s death.
Before making any legal decision you should contact a professional such as William Hanlon Tampa Criminal Attorney. They will be able to answer your questions about minimum sentences in Florida and provide legal counsel.