You’ve been charged with a crime and the first question you ask yourself, your family, is what I am facing in terms of a penalty. Most of my clients want to know if they are going to jail. For the most part, if you have committed and are charged with a crime that does not involve violence and/or a large amount of drugs and you did not use a weapon in the commission of your crime and you are a first offender, you probably will not be going to jail. The sentencing guidelines in Florida basically combine two variables to determine what your sentencing guideline is. One is the offense you are charged with and the second is your prior criminal history. Both of those are calculated on a score sheet and you come up with a certain number of points. Those points determine whether you are eligible for probation or whether you will be sentenced to prison.
Under the current sentencing guidelines in Florida, your point score will give the Court three options for your sentence. The first is called any non-state prison sanction which can include probation, community service hours, or local county jail time (but not state prison). The second or middle category provides for discretionary prison time or any non-state prison sanction. This means that the Court can sentence you to prison, but probably will not if you accepted a plea-bargain from the prosecutor in your case. The third sentencing option would mandate a state prison sanction and while the Court can grant a downward departure you would probably still be looking at state prison time. The Court has discretion to lower or raise your score by 25%.
The key to the sentencing guidelines is a lack of contact with the criminal justice system and no victim injury. Also be aware that these score sheets provide for the minimum sentences that can be imposed by the Court. The Court has the power to sentence someone to prison even though they may have a low score under the guidelines. From a practical standpoint however, if someone is taking a plea and taking responsibility, the Court will not sentence you to prison time. If you are one of those people that has a lengthy criminal history and you are charged with a crime that requires a prison sentence, your lawyer can file a motion for downward departure to attempt to get the Court to go below the sentencing guidelines. The best time to hire a criminal defense attorney is immediately following your arrest so that your lawyer can plan for the sentencing guidelines in your case and make sure you are in the no state prison sanction category.
If you have been charged with violating Florida laws, contact Galanter Law, a Miami Criminal defense attorney with over 30 years of experience. Galanter Law has helped countless clients avoid jail time, lessen their charges, or even have their charges dropped entirely.
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Commentary by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Yale Galanter:
Yale Galanter, a Miami criminal defense lawyer, has over 30 years of experience providing discreet and aggressive legal counseling to both public figures and clients looking for precise and excellent legal defense. Yale Galanter is known for his personal representation and attention to your criminal matter.
If you find yourself facing a charge of drug possession, you do not have to face this alone. Contact an experienced drug defense attorney, call Galanter Law at (305)576-0244 or (954)524-6600, or visit galanterlaw.com.