Criminal Sentencing in Florida

A conviction in a criminal case may be reached through a jury verdict, plea bargain or a guilty plea, but the legal punishment in each case is determined only at the sentencing phase.

The convicted criminal defendant will usually have to face one or more of the following punishments following a sentence:

  • Monetary fine
  • Short-term imprisonment
  • Long-term imprisonment
  • Suspended sentence
  • Probation
  • Restitution payment to the victim
  • Rehab for drugs or alcohol
  • Community service

If you have been convicted of a crime in Broward County and wish to learn more about your legal rights contact our Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorneys at The William Moore Law Firm. Our criminal defense lawyers have years of knowledge and experience in representing individuals facing criminal charges.

Factors in Sentencing

The process of sentencing generally takes place almost immediately following a conviction in case of minor misdemeanors, infractions, or where the defendant has pleaded guilty. However, in more complicated criminal cases, such as the ones involving felonies, the sentencing judge will usually ask for inputs from the prosecution, the probation department, and the defense. The judge will also take into consideration sentencing and punishment ranges specified in relevant criminal statutes.

The judge will also consider a number of factors specific to the particular criminal case, including:

  • Criminal history of the defendant, if any.
  • The manner in which the crime was committed and the circumstances surrounding it.
  • The nature of the criminal act.
  • The impact of the crime on the victim.
  • Socio-economic background of the defendant.
  • Remorse shown by the defendant.

Criminal attorneys, as a rule, provide legal support to defendants in such cases with an aim to reduce punishment or achieve a favorable verdict.

Sentencing Alternatives

Sentencing in a criminal case may assume different forms, and a criminal conviction does not necessarily mean imprisonment. Some of the alternative sentences may include different combinations of the following:

  • Monetary fine: Punishment in the form of money paid to the government.
  • Probation: Sentenced individual is required to fulfill certain conditions during the period of probation.
  • Suspended sentence: Jail sentence may be delayed under certain special circumstances.
  • Community service: Court may order the convict to perform certain community service activity for a specified number of days.
  • Restitution: The convict is required to pay money to the victim as compensation.
  • Deferred adjudication: A program designed to offer an opportunity to the defendant to avoid a criminal record. Matthew Fox in Oregon may fall under this category in regards to a DUI he received.

The sentencing judge will usually determine whether an alternative sentence must be imposed in a particular case, depending on various factors.

The Three Strikes Statute

The Three Strikes Statute under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 1994, has a provision for life imprisonment for a convict. The conditions for such sentencing are that the convict must have been convicted of a serious violent felony in a federal court, and must have at least two previous convictions, out of which at least one must be a serious violent felony.

A criminal charge will have a serious impact on a individuals future. If you or a loved one have been arrested and now face criminal charges it is important to seek our legal representation. Our Broward Felony Attorneys have established years or experience and skills in the art of criminal defense. Contact us for answers on criminal sentencing in Fort Lauderdale.