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Understanding Florida Sentencing


If you are facing criminal charges, one of your primary concerns likely centers around what your sentence might be if convicted.  In Florida, as in other states, two of the primary sentencing considerations are the offense itself and your past criminal history. There is much more to understand about sentencing than these factors, however.

Deferred Sentencing 

One of the best outcomes for someone convicted of criminal offenses is a deferred sentence.  Essentially, you are allowed to put off sentencing altogether and go straight to probation.  Assuming you complete probation successfully, your charges will be dropped and you can put the whole thing behind you. If, however, you manage to sabotage your probation, you go back before the judge to get a sentence for the original crime.

Mandatory Minimums 

Some crimes—drug and sex crimes, for instance– have mandatory minimum sentences by statute, taking away any discretion from judges.

Sentencing Enhancements 

Your sentence will be longer if enhancements are added due a repeat of certain violent offenses or multiple felonies.

Concurrent Sentences 

If you are convicted of more than one crime, a concurrent sentence allows you to serve both at the same time.  So a sentence for five years that runs concurrently with a sentence for three years will be just five years, not the sum of the two sentences, eight.

Consecutive Sentences 

When convicted of multiple crimes, consecutive sentences will be served one after another. So that five year sentence will be added to the three year sentence, and you’ll have to serve eight full years.

Indeterminate Sentences 

Sometimes judges will sentence you to a loosely defined period of time by using terms such as “not more than…” or “up to a maximum of…’

Fixed Sentences 

When statute calls out a specific sentencing guideline, such as “four to seven years” the judge may specify a number of years within the guidelines, such as six years.

Shaving Years off Your Sentence 

There are mechanisms in the system that give imprisoned individuals the opportunity to cut down the amount of time they actually serve.  When COVID hit this country, many prisons made extra efforts to reduce the prison population, but even when the country is not facing a pandemic, there are mechanisms that can impact your sentence including time off for good behavior and various parole options.  There’s also a possibility of compassionate release or a commuted sentence in very limited situations. Finally, as sentencing guidelines are reformed, they may be applied retroactively.

Fighting for Best Outcomes 

The Kissimmee criminal defense lawyers at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. are determined to work diligently on your behalf during every phase of your case, from the preliminary hearing to negotiations, plea bargaining, trial, and the sentencing hearing if it gets that far.  Schedule a confidential consultation today.

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