The Youthful Offender Act was enacted to give lower courts sentencing alternatives for defendants who are under 21-years-old and meet certain eligibility criteria. If you meet these criteria in Miami, it may be possible to ask the court to sentence you as a youthful offender, and these penalties are less harsh than adult sentencing. A skillful Miami criminal defense attorney with knowledge of sentencing alternatives can help you make sense of your options. In a recent Florida case, an appellate court reconsidered an earlier ruling about its sentencing of a defendant previously deemed a youthful offender.
The case arose when a young man was charged with aggravated battery. His sentence was imposed pursuant to the Youthful Offender Act, which permits at most six years of incarceration for those treated as youthful offenders. Accordingly, the defendant’s sentence involved 479 days in prison plus 18 months community control and 18 months of probation. After the community control was revoked for a substantive violation, the lower court sentenced him to a mandatory minimum term of 20 years imprisonment under the 10-20-Life statute, section 775.087(2)(a).
The appellate court affirmed. Later the sentence was amended to state he retained his status as a youthful offender. He filed several challenges to his sentence. Among these challenges was a motion to correct an illegal sentence under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a). He claimed the mandatory minimum term was unlawful since was more than the most the court could impose for a youthful offender’s second-degree felony.