Criminal Punishment Code Score Sheets
The lawyers here at Hanlon Law believe in second chances and that people change and grow into more mature humans. People should not be punished for conduct that occurred years or decades in the past. Unfortunately, the sentencing laws in place in the State of Florida require trial court judges to take into account the defendant's past when laying down sentences. People in Florida who are convicted of serious felony offenses are not just punished for the crime they are convicted of, but are punished for everything they’ve been convicted of in the past as well.
This arrangement may seem draconian and harsh, but it is the reality of Florida’s criminal justice system. Because of the nature of the scoresheet system, criminal defendants can end up facing wildly inappropriate sentences in relation to the accusations they are facing. People charged with minor drug possession charges might end up facing serious prison time due to their prior record whereas a person with no record would be facing probation or even dismissal. If you are facing any criminal charges, and especially if you are facing prison on account of your scoresheet, you should contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal attorney to handle your case.What is a Criminal Scoresheet
A criminal scoresheet in Florida refers to the scoresheet created by the Florida Criminal Punishment Code. Prosecutors will typically complete a scoresheet and provide it to your attorney. The scoresheet will include a list of the charges you are currently facing. Those charges are organized by offense level and are separated into primary and additional offenses. There are ten offense levels depending on the severity of the crime and that are assigned increasing point values. The highest scoring charge you are facing will become the primary offense. At the primary offense stage level one offenses score 4 points while level 10 offenses score 116 points.
Any other criminal charges that you are currently facing will be added to your scoresheet as additional offenses. At the additional offense stage, the point values are reduced. For example, level 1 offenses score 0.7 points and level 10 offenses score 58 points. Your additional offense points will then be added and applied to the total offense score at the bottom of your scoresheet. Finally, your prior offenses will be tallied up. Again, the point values are reduced, but if you have a lengthy criminal record, even those small points can add up. Because your prior offenses, and even misdemeanor convictions, add points to your scoresheet and increase your potential exposure to prison, you should always consult with an experienced St. Petersburg criminal lawyer before resolving any criminal case. The work of a diligent lawyer on even a minor case can have significant effects on future matters.
Along with your primary, additional, and prior offenses, the prosecution can add points for other factors in the case in an attempt to increase your prison sentence. If the offense for which you are charged is a violent one or otherwise resulted in injury to another person, the prosecution can add victim injury points to your scoresheet. If the prosecutors have evidence that your offense was related to gang activities, if your offense was domestic violence in the presence of a child, or if you have multiple grand theft auto convictions, the prosecutors can actually multiply your sentencing points to significantly increase your score.How Does a Scoresheet Affect Me?
In Florida, your score determines whether or not you will face a mandatory prison sentence. If, after adding up all of the points applied to your primary offense, additional offenses, priors and enhancements, you score 44 or more points, the judge will be required to sentence you to prison if you are convicted. Your scoresheet, however, is not set in stone. An experienced and dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer can take action to remove certain offenses from your sheet and reduce your total exposure. A lawyer can also determine if you qualify for a downward departure sentence to help you avoid prison as well.Speak to a Lawyer Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law have extensive experience dealing with scoresheet issues and protecting our clients from prison sentences. If you are facing any criminal case, don’t hesitate to contact us today at 727-897-5413.