Recently, Marissa Alexander was sentenced for 20 years for firing what she stated as a “warning shot” during an argument with her husband. Many have come to question Florida’s 10-20-Life law in mist of this recent conviction. As a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer this law hinders my representation of my clients because it takes the sentencing out of the hands of the jury and sets mandatory sentences.
In the Alexander case, she stated she fired a “warning shot” in self defense from an abusive husband. This incident took place at her home and in front of her two children. The bullet did not strike her husband nor did any injuries result from her actions. Even so, she was charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
Now, under Florida’s 10-20-life law, the law sets mandatory sentences for crimes involving guns, no matter what the situation may be. Under the law if a gun is pulled then a 10 year min sentence is imposed. If a shot is fired, a 20 year min is set. Finally, if a person is shot, a life sentence is imposed. This law is the reason for why Alexander was sentenced for 20 years (she fired a shot). However, her penalty for self-defense is the same as some one committing armed robbery with the intent to steal and potentially harm another individual. Fair and Just? I think not!
Florida’s 10-20-Life law has come under huge debate. Its validity is questionable and the justice it states to impose is even more questionable. Therefore as a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer I fight for my clients rights and work for the best possible outcome for my clients. If you have been charged with a Jacksonville Criminal Offense, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer today. It could prove to make all the difference in your case.