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Are there minimum sentencing rules for criminal offenses in Florida?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2023 | Criminal Law

The state of Florida requires a judge to impose mandatory minimums in criminal sentencing. These laws limit a judge’s discretion as a way to mandate harsher consequences for repeat violent offenders, as well as those with violations of house arrest or probation.

Mandatory sentencing varies according to the type of crime, with some seen as more serious. The three broad categories of serious crime are gun, sex and drug crimes with certain crimes within these types carrying a mandatory minimum sentence.

Gun crimes

With gun crimes, it is certain crimes committed using or possessing a firearm that triggers the mandatory minimum law. Minimums also apply if a convicted felon possesses a firearm or when an individual commits aggravated battery or aggravated assault with a firearm. Minimum sentences could range from three to 25 years in prison.

Sex crimes

Any individual older than 18 who commits the lascivious or lewd molestation of a child younger than 12 faces a mandatory minimum sentence. It is a 25-year mandatory prison stay though the individual could receive life in prison. There is also community control or sex offender probation for life.

Drug crimes

Drug trafficking receives mandatory minimums, and these charges typically occur when the individual possesses a certain amount of an illegal substance.  The minimum sentence depends on the drug and the quantity in possession, but if convicted, the individual faces from three to 25 years in prison.

Mandatory minimum laws attempt to deter certain offenses. A judge maintains some control over the maximum time served.


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