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Mandatory Prison Sentences

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Florida law provides for mandatory minimum sentencing for a number of criminal offenses. Mandatory sentences may include driver's license suspensions, terms of probation, or other conditions that are mandated by statute.

However, Florida has a number of criminal charges whereby prison time is mandatory if the accused is convicted of the offense.

Mandatory minimum prison sentencing does not allow judges to exercise discretion in sentencing. In essence, mandatory minimum prison sentencing takes away the honor, integrity, and respect that we as a society have for our judiciary. A mandatory minimum sentence is the detached legislature's way of telling judges that they lack the ability and foresight to impose a proper sentence, therefore the legislature will tell them how to do their jobs.

Aren't judges supposed to rule based on fairness, impartiality, and what's proper under the law?

So Florida's legislature, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to impose mandatory prison time for a wide number of offenses.

1) Trafficking. All trafficking charges in Florida carry mandatory prison time, from 3 years all the way up to 25.

2) First-Degree Murder. A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence, unless the death penatly is imposed.

3) Firearm Crimes. Florida's 10-20-Life law provides for mandatory prison sentences for crimes involving the possession and discharge of firearms.

4) DUI Manslaughter. DUI manslaughter carries a 4-year mandatory prison term.

5) Aggravated Assault With A Firearm. 3-year mandatory sentence.

6) Aggravated Assault On A Law Enforcement Officer. 3-year mandatory sentence.

7) Aggravated Battery On A Law Enforcement Officer. 5-year mandatory sentence.

These are just the normal statutory minimums for these charges. If you have been designated a "career criminal" under several of Florida's career criminal statutes, you will face mandatory prison time that may exceed that of the charge by itself, or you may face mandatory prison time for offenses that carry no mandatory prison time.

Only the State Attorney can waive a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.