On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Under Florida law, people convicted of a capital felony may be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. In some cases, if a judge determines a life sentence is not appropriate because the capital offense was committed before the defendant turned 18, the term of imprisonment may be reduced to 40 years; it may be subject to review if it extends beyond 25 years. This provision is applicable to people convicted on the capital offense of killing, intending, or attempting to kill someone.
Someone convicted of a capital felony before age 18, without actually, intending or attempting to kill anyone, may be sentenced to life in prison. However, the defendant is entitled to a sentencing review if the imprisonment term exceeds 15 years. The court will determine if the term is eligible for review, based on if the defendant actually, intended or attempted to kill someone. If the death penalty is deemed unconstitutional, the court can sentence the defendant to life imprisonment instead.
Generally speaking, people convicted of a first-degree felony serve a maximum of 30 years unless life imprisonment is specifically required by any statute. The maximum penalty for a second-degree felony is 15 years while the maximum term for a third-degree felony is five years. Excluding capital offenses, all felonies are sentenced in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Criminal Punishment Code.
Anyone accused of felony charges in Florida may benefit from contacting a criminal defense lawyer immediately Legal counsel may be able to help the defendant obtain reduced charges by challenging the credibility of the prosecution’s case. Lawyers might focus on questioning the legality of the investigation or the integrity of the evidence collected by arresting officers. If lawyers are unable to create plausibility for reasonable doubt, negotiating a plea agreement may still be possible.
The 2014 Florida Statutes, “Chapter 775- DEFINITIONS; GENERAL PENALTIES; REGISTRATION OF CRIMINALS,” The Florida Legislature
Online Sunshine, “The 2014 Florida Statutes“, September 19, 2014