The 10/20/Life statute provides for mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes in Florida. This is a harsh law that requires judges to impose at least some prison time in response to a crime, even if it is a first offense, and even if there are mitigating factors. If you believe that the 10/20/Life statute may apply to your case, it is crucial to consult an experienced attorney. Clearwater gun crime lawyer Will Hanlon fights for people accused of violent crimes and other offenses that can involve sentencing enhancements.Understanding the 10/20/Life Statute in Florida
The 10/20/Life law is found in Florida Statute section 775.087. It provides for mandatory minimum penalties if a forcible felony is perpetrated while using a firearm. Judges do not have discretion over the sentence when a mandatory minimum sentence has been required by statute. Thus, for example, you could receive a mandatory minimum sentence if you got angry that your daughter's boyfriend was in your house after hours and fired a warning shot.
In 2016, lawmakers amended the law to provide greater flexibility for judges sentencing people for crimes that were committed with firearms. However, the 10/20/Life law continues to apply as it previously did for any crime committed before July 1, 2016.
Under Section 775.087, if you are charged with certain felonies in which you use, display, carry, threaten to use, or try to use a firearm or weapon during the commission of the felony, the felony with which you are charged will be reclassified for the purposes of sentencing. For example, if you are charged with a first-degree felony, you will be charged with a life felony. If you are charged with a second-degree felony, you will be charged with a first-degree felony. If you are charged with a third-degree felony, you will be charged with a second-degree felony.
If you are convicted of having a firearm or destructive device while committing sexual battery, murder, aggravated abuse of an elderly individual, aggravated child abuse, illegal discharge, placing or throwing destructive bombs or devices, burglary, carjacking, aircraft piracy, robbery, arson, home invasion robbery, aggravated battery, escape, kidnapping, felon in possession of a firearm, or certain drug trafficking offenses, the court is required to sentence you to a minimum of 10 years in prison. There are some narrow exceptions that a Clearwater criminal lawyer can help you investigate.
The penalties are even harsher if you actually discharged the firearm or destructive device while perpetrating a listed felony or attempting to perpetrate one. In that case, if you are convicted, the judge is required to sentence you to a mandatory minimum prison term of 20 years.
If you are convicted of a listed felony or attempt to commit a felony, regardless of whether using a firearm was an element of the felony, and you discharged a firearm or destructive device, such that you caused great bodily harm or death to someone else, you can face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
A mandatory minimum sentence is merely a minimum sentence. Depending on the crime with which you are being charged, you may face a longer prison term or even a life sentence or death sentence. There are certain narrow channels whereby you could get out earlier, but these are challenging to get: pardon, conditional medical release, or executive clemency. Under the 10/20/Life statute, an adjudication of guilt or imposition of a sentence will not be withheld, deferred, or suspended, and a defendant will not be eligible for statutory gain-time or any other kind of discretionary release, other than the three forms listed above, before they serve the minimum sentence.Hire a Clearwater Attorney Experienced in Fighting Firearms Charges
If you are charged with a forcible felony involving a firearm in the Clearwater area, you may face serious consequences. It is critical to get an attorney involved on your side. The 10/20/Life statute is a very harsh law that can increase the chances of a long prison term in Florida. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has defended the accused since 1994. You can call us at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form.