Before 1983, the criminal defendant had no reliable way of determining what type of sentence they may be receiving following a criminal conviction. Florida lacked a clear set of guidelines for judges when determining an appropriate sentence for a criminal defendant. Felony convictions could carry a maximum penalty ranging anywhere from five years imprisonment to life imprisonment depending on the category offense. Due to the availability of parole for many convicted individuals, this policy resulted in varying amounts of time served for the same offenses.
The need for consistent sentencing structure lead to the eventual creation of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.992(a). These guidelines categorize offenses into different levels based on the severity of the crime, violence towards any victims involved, the offender’s criminal history, legal status violations, use of firearms, and additional enhancements.
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.992(a)
Florida determines minimum sentences by setting specific scores for the initial offense committed and adding points for additional offenses committed by an offender. Section 3.992(a) lists points for varying offenses depending on the nature of the offense with the highest scores being allocated to the most serious crimes. Some of these offenses may include firearm offenses, sexually motivated crimes, and drug crimes. For every offense committed by an offender, points are added to the sentencing scoresheet.
In addition to an initial offense, Florida’s sentencing guidelines add additional points to an offender’s scoresheet for any auxiliary or related offenses. One example of this scoring system is present when an individual is charged with an offender is charged in a robbery which resulted in the death of a victim. In this instance, the offender may be charged with robbery as an initial offense as well as felony murder as an additional offense.
Harm to Other Individuals
Additional points are added for injuries inflicted on any victims involved depending on the severity and the nature of the injury. Points will be added separately for said injuries
In addition to these categories, Florida sentencing guidelines also take into account the use of firearms, any offenses committed during probation, the offender’s criminal history, and any failures to appear for court hearings. This point system will determine the severity of the sentence for a given offense (with exceptions for crimes with minimum mandatory offenses.)
Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If you were recently arrested and charged with a criminal offense in the state of Florida, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure your rights.
If you are in need of legal representation due to criminal charges, contact The Hoffman Firm at (305) 928-1669 to get started with a free consultation.