The United States has by far the larges prison population on earth. Around 2.3 million people are incarcerated for crimes in the United States. This statistic is even more astounding when one realizes that those 2.3 million prisoners comprise one quarter of incarcerated people on earth. No other country, developed or undeveloped, first or third world, imprisons its own citizens at a rate even close to that of the United States. Our state certainly does not help with that statistic. As of 2016, Florida has almost 150,000 people behind bars, behind only Texas and California. The biggest problem with all of this is that it is not by accident, but by design. The criminal laws of our state are designed to punish people with extreme incarceration and the laws seem to only get worse. Anyone facing jail or prison should not hesitate to contact a skilled St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to analyze their case right away.
Crimes in Florida are separated into misdemeanors which are punishable only by jail time with a maximum of one year, and felonies which are punishable by prison sentences. Felonies are further split into degrees. Third degree felonies carry five year maximums. Second degrees carry fifteen year limits. And first degree felonies are punishable by up to thirty years. More serious offenses are dubbed punishable by life or “PBL” and have no maximum sentence. And first degree murder charges are still punishable by the death penalty in our state. While those lengthy prison sentences might seem sufficient for most crimes, our trusty legislators don’t think so. Instead, they have instituted a multitude of sentencing laws that allow courts to send people to prison even beyond those maximum limits originally put in place.Types of Sentecing Enhancements
One of Florida’s most famous sentencing enhancement laws is the 10-20-Life law. The law infamously implements harsh minimum mandatory sentences any time a firearm is used or possessed during the commission of certain felony offenses. If you are convicted of one of the enumerated crimes and were in possession of a firearm, the minimum mandatory becomes 10 years. If you are convicted of the crime and found to have discharged the firearm, even if no one was hit or harmed, you face an automatic 20 year mandatory prison sentence. And if someone is struck with a projectile from a gun, the minimum mandatory sentence becomes life. These serious sentencing enhancers give the prosecution a leg up on your case and you must retain a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to represent you.
Other sentencing enhancements can also be applied depending on a person’s prior charges. If you have been convicted of certain criminal offenses and are facing new charges, a court can find that you qualify to be labelled as a habitual violent offender. Such a designation can result in increased maximum penalties, allowing courts to sentence defendants to lengthier sentences. Even more seriously, if a defendant was released from prison less than five years before the commission of certain new offenses, they can be labelled prison releasee reoffenders. A prison releasee reoffender’s maximum penalties become the minimum penalties. For example a prison releasee reoffender facing a second degree felony will have a minimum mandatory fifteen year prison sentence. The seriousness of Florida’s sentencing enhancement statutes cannot be overstated. Anyone facing such enhancements should contact a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney immediately.Speak To Our Lawyers Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending clients facing terrifying prison sentences. We have the experience and dedication necessary to fight against even the most serious charges and obtain results that our clients are consistently happy with. We aim to overachieve with our representation and we don’t back down from a fight with the powers that be. Call us today at 727-897-5413 to learn how we can build a plan to defend you regardless of the charges you face.