Monday, July 18, 2016

Reducing Your Sentence Post-Conviction

Even after someone has been convicted and sentenced, there may still be relief. 

A defendant may be able to seek a sentencing reduction under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800 even if the sentence was legal. The Rule allows for a sentence to be corrected, reduced, or modified (a) to correct an error such as a miscalculation or illegal sentence or (c) for any or no reason, under the judge's discretion. For legal sentences, the request must be made within 60 days of the sentencing. Your lawyer will file a motion with the original judge outlying reasons for the reduction. It will be up to the judge to exercise discretion and allow the sentence to be reduced.

If the defendant believes the sentence was incorrect or illegal on some grounds, a motion to alter the sentence may be filed at any time. The reasons should be thoroughly researched by your attorney before presenting the motion. (Note that the motion to alter or reduce the sentence does not challenge the conviction. Rather, it assumes the crime and challenges the punishment). One frequently encountered sentencing error arises under Section 775.082(10), Florida Statutes. The statute states:

If a defendant is sentenced for an offense committed on or after July 1, 2009, which is a third degree felony but not a forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08, and excluding any third degree felony violation under chapter 810, and if the total sentence points pursuant to s. 921.0024 are 22 points or fewer, the court must sentence the offender to a nonstate prison sanction. However, if the court makes written findings that a nonstate prison sanction could present a danger to the public, the court may sentence the offender to a state correctional facility pursuant to this section.

This means you may have committed a crime that has a maximum penalty of five years but may only be sentenced to a year or less. This statute was enacted in 2009 as a part of a cost-savings measure for the Department of Corrections, and the legislative staff analysis characterized the statute as a prison diversion approach pursuant to which the trial court was required to sentence certain non-violent low-scoring offenders to a non-state prison sanction unless the court finds that such a sentence could endanger the public.

If you or someone you know has a sentence you would like to be reduced, call us now at 813-815-0291.

No comments:

Post a Comment