Why You Need a Good Criminal Defense Attorney: the Florida 10-20-life

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What is the Florida 10-20-Life Law?

Florida statute 775.087 more commonly known as the Florida 10-20- Life law states that a person convicted of a felony will incur more penalties if a gun was used during the crime. “Using” a gun does not necessarily mean firing the weapon, using it as a way to threaten a person or persons, (even indirectly as in mealy displaying it) will be enough for an individual to be subject to increased penalties under Florida law. The Florida 10-20- Life law was passed in the year 1999 likely resulting, in part, from the statistics that revealed that well over 31,000 violent crimes using guns were committed the prior year, in 1998.

As this law pertains to felonies it is best to understand exactly what a felony is. A felony is a crime, typically (but not always) violent in nature that is more serious than a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are simply wrongdoing and do not carry with them as many punishments as felonies, things like public intoxication or disorderly conduct are both examples of misdemeanors. Felonies, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. The punishment for a felony can range anywhere from imprisonment to death depending on the jurisdiction. The minimum sentence for most felonies is typically one-year incarceration, but felony sentencing has classes and guidelines depending on the crime. Class E felonies are the least serious felonies and as such carry with them the lightest sentencing. Class A felonies are the most serious and can result in life in prison without the possibility of parole. Class A felons are also eligible to receive the death penalty (once again depending on factors such as the state, and jurisdiction). Crimes like murder, manslaughter, and rape, are all considered felonies. Examples of non-violent felonies include varying types of fraud, forgery, and vandalism to federal property.

The Penalty System of the 10-20-Life Law

The penalties associated with the Florida 10-20-Life law are in conjunction with any penalties that one may have received as a result of the felony itself. Simply being in possession of a gun whether it was actually a part of the felony or not carries with it a minimum and mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison. If the gun was actually fired or used during the crime in question a sentence of no less than 20 years in prison will be incurred. If the firing (or discharge) of the gun results in death or extreme bodily harm then a prison sentence of no less than 25 years and no greater than life in prison will be the result.

What should you do if you are charged with a felony under the Florida 10-20-Life Law?

You’ll want to hire a good criminal defense attorney. From there your defense attorney will look into your particular circumstance, conduct an investigation regarding the allegations, and develop strategies to defend your rights, unique to your situation.

Being charged with a felony, especially if a firearm was used or present at the crime, can cost you a great deal more than a spot on your record. The sentencing for being convicted of a felony can absolutely be devastating. If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony you NEED a good Criminal Defense attorney. Russell McCormick is that Criminal Defense attorney. With him, you can rest easy knowing that you have 10 years of award-winning experience on your side. Call (904) 353-0436 today and speak to an experienced Jacksonville defense attorney.

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