Downward Departure Sentencing Attorney in Miami
Pursuing Justice on Your Behalf
The process for criminal sentencing is complex, and waiting to find out what the judge will decide may be excruciating. In Florida, some felony cases with specific mitigating factors may result in a sentence that is below the minimum penalty – this is a downward departure.
The Hoffman Firm is proud to serve clients in Miami and the surrounding areas. From downward departure sentences to other legal matters, our attorney has the experience you need to protect your future. Choose an attorney you can trust – choose The Hoffman Firm.
Call our Miami office at (305) 928-1669.
What Is a Downward Departure Sentence?
Felony crimes are sentenced according to the guidelines in the Florida Criminal Punishment Code (CPC). The CPC details the appropriate punishment for any given crime and provides a minimum sentence on which the judge can base their own verdict. Judges can choose to issue a harsher sentence than the CPC or choose a downward departure sentence.
Traditionally, a sentence is based on the severity of the crime, criminal intent, and degree of harm, but in a downward departure case, mitigating factors play a significant role.
The following are some factors that could change a sentence to a downward departure:
- The defendant agrees to a plea bargain
- The need for restitution outweighs a prison sentence
- The defendant is a youthful offender
- The incident was an isolated incident, and the defendant shows remorse
- The defendant was attempting to provide medical intervention to an individual overdosing on drugs
- The victim was compensated before the defendant was charged
- The defendant committed the crime under extreme duress
- The victim willfully provoked the defendant and instigated the crime
- The crime was nonviolent
- The defendant is incapable of understanding why their actions were wrong
These are just a few of the mitigating factors that can change your case. The law also empowers judges to decide whether to issue a downward departure sentence based on their own interpretation of the case and evidence presented before the court.
However, it is important to note that judges rarely deviate from the norm – downward departure sentences are rare, and only a qualified legal professional can make a request on your behalf.
How Does It Work?
To better understand downward departures, it is crucial to understand Florida’s point system. As a part of the criminal justice process, the defendant is assigned a score sheet, and the number of points assigned to each person depends on the level of offense.
The levels and points are as follows:
- Level 1: 4 points
- Level 2: 10 points
- Level 3: 16 points
- Level 4: 22 points
- Level 5: 28 points
- Level 6: 36 points
- Level 7: 56 points
- Level 8: 74 points
- Level 9: 92 points
- Level 10: 116 points
These offenses may also be multiplied by 1.5-2.5 if the crime involved grand theft, gang activity, domestic violence, or drug trafficking.
These points can add up quickly, and any point value over 44 is an automatic prison sentence. If the defendant has between 22 and 44 points, the offense could be a third-degree felony and may not lead to prison time should the judge choose an alternative punishment.
Prosecutors are responsible for preparing the score sheet as a part of the filing process for criminal charges. Defense attorneys may receive a copy of the sheet, explain the implications to the client, and/or make corrections as needed.
How Do I Get a Downward Departure Sentence?
Whether you receive downward departure is entirely up to the judge. You can, however, show the court that you accept responsibility and deserve a second chance. Admitting guilt, ceasing criminal activities, surrendering to investigators, and paying restitution could improve your chances.
The truth is, while the criminal justice system does offer opportunities for reformation and freedom, criminal charges of any kind are taken very seriously. There are countless checks and balances for how judges pass down sentences that exist to prevent injustice, but in doing so, they also make deviating from the rules nearly impossible.
The best way to approach the court for a downward departure sentence is through an attorney.
A Tireless Defender and Advocate
Facing criminal charges can be devastating and lonely, but you never have to face the criminal justice system on your own. The Hoffman Firm has over 20 years of experience handling complicated cases just like yours.
Founding Attorney Evan Hoffman is passionate about justice and has pursued it on behalf of his clients throughout his career. He has experience on both sides of the aisle as a former prosecutor and active defender – both of which give him a unique insight into the Florida criminal justice system. Not only is Attorney Hoffman a proven defender and tireless advocate, but he is an asset to any case.
Whether you have been arrested or you want to pursue a downward departure sentence, our attorney can help. Contact our Miami downward departure sentencing attorneyfor more information.