When a criminal defendant is charged with a felony in Jacksonville, he will be subject to the Florida Sentencing Guidelines. For most minor felonies, a person will not score a minimum sentence pursuant to Florida’s Sentencing Guidelines. Therefore, he may be able to avoid a prison sentence. However, there are certain felony offenses that carry enough points to result in a minimum prison sentence, and a defendant’s prior criminal record will have an effect on his sentence.
In most cases, if a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant scores minimum sentence according to the Florida Sentencing Guidelines, the judge will not sentence the offender below the guidelines. Florida Statute Section 921.0016(4) lists reasons why a judge may depart from the sentencing guidelines A plea bargain is most common departure from the guidelines, but there are others listed in the statute. Although a youthful offender sentence is not listed as a reason for a departure from the guidelines, it can be. More importantly, it can be used to avoid a 10-20-Life Florida prison sentence (See State v. Wooten, 782 So. 2d 408 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2001)).
To learn more about Florida Sentencing Guidelines, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney. If you would like information on Federal Sentencing Guidelines, visit the Second Circuit Sentencing Blog.