FLORIDA’S 10-20-LIFE LAW IN A NUTSHELL

jail 

Florida’s 10-20-Life law was enacted in the late 1990’s in an attempt to quell the growing use of firearms during the commission of crimes. It makes Florida’s criminal laws some of the toughest in terms of sentencing in the United States.

 

The law’s name correctly spells out exactly what the laws impact is on a convicted defendant by creating three minimum mandatory sentences. The law also makes it so that these minimum mandatory sentences must be completed consecutively to any additional sentence a defendant may serve. That means that any other sentence must be served before or after the mandatory sentence is completed. The three specific areas are:

 

  1. Produce a firearm during the commission of certain felonies will draw a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence. These felonies include:

 

  • Murder

Sexual Battery

  • Burglary
    • Arson
  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Escape
  • Aircraft piracy
  • Aggravated child abuse
  • Aggravated abuse of an elderly person
  • or disabled person
  • Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging a
  • destructive device or bomb
  • Carjacking
  • Home-invasion robbery
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Trafficking in drugs (there is a specific long list of
  • drugs by name in the law itself)
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon

 

2) Discharging a firearm during the commission of one of the above listed felonies will draw a mandatory minimum 20 year prison sentence.

 

3) Discharging a firearm resulting in death or great bodily harm during the commission of one of the above listed felonies will draw a mandatory minimum 25 year sentence. The maximum penalty someone can receive if convicted is a life sentence unless the charged is felony murder or first-degree murder in which case the maximum is the death penalty.

 

The law also increased or established other mandatory minimum sentences which are firearms related.

 

  • A mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years in state prison for felons who possess a firearm.
  • A mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in state prison if the defendant is in possession of either a machine gun or a semiautomatic gun with a high-capacity box magazine while committing one of the above listed felonies.

 

  • A mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in state prison if the defendant is in possession of either a machine gun or a semiautomatic gun with a high-capacity box magazine while committing one of the above listed crimes and discharges said firearm.

 

In all cases a mandatory minimum sentence means that the Judge has no wiggle room when sentencing a defendant convicted in these circumstances. The Judge must sentence the defendant to at least the minimum prison sentence as stated in the law. However, the Judge may go beyond the mandatory minimum sentence and sentence the defendant to more prison time if the circumstances surrounding the case warrant it but the mandatory minimum time is not increased.

 

1 Comment
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