Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney, William Moore, claims that many Floridians mistakenly believe that criminal defendants convicted of serious crimes will serve only a short period of time in prison before being released on parole. This misunderstanding may be due to the lenient parole systems in other states or the way parole worked many years ago. They may also hear of notorious criminals being released on parole after rehabilitation during decades in prison, says Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney William Moore. In any case, the parole system in Florida emphasizes the importance of serving the vast majority of a sentence behind bars.
If a defendant is convicted and sentenced to a prison sentence for a crime that occurred on or after October 1, 1995, according to Broward criminal attorney Moore. He must serve no less than 85 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole. That means, for example, that a person convicted of burglary who is sentenced to ten years in prison must serve a minimum of eight and a half years. Likewise, a person convicted of sexual battery who is sentenced to 15 years must serve at least 12.8 years before being eligible to go before the parole board.
The calculations do not apply to absolutely every sentence, however, and the most notable exception is life imprisonment. A person who has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole cannot thereafter be paroled in the state of Florida. There is a separate sentence for life with the possibility of parole, which is the sentence approximately six percent of Florida inmates are currently serving, compared to five percent without the possibility of parole.
The Florida law has resulted in an increase in the percentage of a sentence that the average inmate serves in the state. In 2001, the average percentage served was 82.4 percent, reflecting a fair number of inmates whose convictions were for crimes committed before the cutoff date. By 2005, the figure had increased to 85.7 percent. Parole remains infrequent: in 2005, of all of the prisoners released, just 0.2 percent were paroled, or one of every 500 released.
Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney William Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.