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Florida Mandatory Sentencing

Understanding Penalties with St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorneys

Mandatory sentencing laws have severely limited a judge's discretion in imposing a sentence in recent years. This is particularly true in cases involving repeat violent offenders. Judges do not take probation violations or violations of house arrest lightly, particularly since the new Florida Anti-Murder Act went into effect in early 2007. The sentence for a probation violation or violation of house arrest can be very harsh; thus it is extremely important to have the best legal representation possible.

Schedule a free consultation with St. Petersburg Criminal defense lawyers who have nearly 40 years combined experience by calling (727) 202-4858.

10/20/Life Law for Crimes Involving Firearms

Enacted in July 1999, the "10/20/Life" law requires judges to impose a 10-year prison sentence for any person who is in "actual" possession of a firearm and is convicted of committing--or attempting to commit--a serious felony. Use of a firearm in a murder, sexual battery, robbery, or burglary requires the judge to hand down a 20-year prison sentence. If someone discharges a firearm during the attempt or commission of a serious felony and death results from serious bodily injury, the judge is required to impose a MINIMUM sentence of life imprisonment.

Three (3) Strikes Law - Prior Convictions

The 3 Strikes Law was also enacted in July 1999. It applies to defendants with two (2) prior convictions who are convicted as a violent felony offender for the 3rd time. A defendant is subject to the 3 Strikes Law only if he or she meets the following 5 separate criteria:

  • The defendant was convicted of a violent felony twice before. In this case, a withhold of adjudication counts as a conviction.
  • Each conviction took place on a separate occasion, including the third offense for which the defendant is presently being sentenced.
  • The present offense is a violent felony (such as arson, sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping, or murder).
  • The present offense was committed while serving any sentence imposed as a result of being convicted of another violent felony or within 5 years of being convicted of a violent felony, or within 5 years of finishing a sentence imposed for a violent felony.
  • The accused has not been pardoned for a prior violent felony conviction or has not had a prior violent felony conviction overturned on appeal or other post-conviction proceeding

Once these 5 criteria are satisfied, a judge is required to impose the minimum mandatory term of imprisonment specified by law as follows:

  • Life felony = Life imprisonment
  • First-degree felony = 30-year prison term
  • Second-degree felony = 15-year prison term
  • Third-degree felony = 5-year prison term

Florida’s mandatory sentences can have a serious impact on your future. Contact Fleming Law Group today to start planning defense with skilled criminal defense lawyers in St. Petersburg.

Why Choose Fleming Law Group?

  • 24/7 Accessibility

    There is always an attorney in the office and there is no time that we cannot be reached. We are always available via email or phone at
    any time.

  • Honest Guidance

    Our attorneys are not out for their best interest, but for yours. Our clients receive personalized care that is focused solely on them and their unique case.

  • Unique Backgrounds

    As former prosecutors, both Attorneys Fleming and Bettker have unique perspective in the courtroom and stay one step ahead of
    the opposition.

  • Decades of Experience

    Our attorneys have more than 40 decades of combined experience. Over the years, we have gained a renown in our field for our results and care for our clients.

“Mr. Fleming got me an incredible result for my case. I have worked with many other lawyers in the past and thought he represented me the best. He also stays in touch with me since my troubles to make sure everything is ok. He also has a great people working with him. They are always so nice to me when I call and I get return calls right away.”

- Kip
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