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More Florida Bills Seek to Reduce Mandatory Minimums

More Florida Bills Seek to Reduce Mandatory Minimums

Florida’s so-called 10-20-Life law, established under § Florida Statute 775.087, has been in effect since 1999 and has largely accomplished its primary goal to sentence thousands of people to mandatory prison terms because of certain convictions involving firearms or other dangerous weapons. The prosecutor is the only person with the power to waive a mandatory minimum sentence, and judges are only allowed to deviate from mandatory minimum requirements when an alleged offender is a youthful offender. 

One key provision of Florida Statute 775.087 that was amended, however, by Senate Bill 228 (SB 228) when Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law on February 26, 2016, related to convictions for aggravated assault involving the possession of a firearm, destructive device, semiautomatic firearm and its high-capacity detachable box magazine, or machine gun. Whereas such convictions automatically triggered mandatory three-year prison sentences, SB 228 deleted that requirement. 

It now appears that more lawmakers in Florida may be trying to eliminate other mandatory minimum provisions under state law. If you were arrested for any kind of criminal offense that could carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence, it is in your best interest to immediately contact The Hoffman Firm.

Miami Criminal Defense Attorney

On October 30, 2017, State Senator Jeff Brandes introduced Senate Bill 694 (SB 694), which sought to amend the drug trafficking law under Florida Statute § 893.135 by authorizing courts to depart from mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment if the alleged offender did not: 

  • Engage in a continuing criminal enterprise; 
  • Use or threaten violence or use a weapon during the commission of the crime; and 
  • Cause a death or serious bodily injury.

The same day SB 694 was introduced, Florida State Representative Ben Diamond and multiple co-sponsors introduced House Bill 481 (HB 481). That bill sought to amend Florida Statute § 893.135 by allowing people convicted under the statute to receive a sentence that is one-third the sentence prescribed if the individual satisfies the same three terms noted above. 

SB 694 was indefinitely postponed, withdrawn from consideration, and died on calendar in the Senate on March 10. HB 481 similarly died in the House of Representatives Criminal Justice Subcommittee on March 10, the same date on which SB 238—a bill seeking to expand eligibility for conditional medical release to include inmates with debilitating illnesses—and HB 1159—a bill that sought to revise circumstances under which a state attorney could move to reduce or suspend sentences for drug trafficking—also died. 

Were you or your loved one arrested for a criminal offense that could involve a possible mandatory minimum prison sentence? You will want to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Call (305) 249-0090 or contact us online to have Miami criminal defense lawyer Evan Hoffman provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

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