My brother was just sentenced in the felony court to almost twice the amount of time in prison that had been agreed to when he pled no contest just over a month ago. We have spoken to a couple of criminal defense attorneys who have stated that such a sentence is illegal due to the fact that it violates the original plea deal. Is this correct, and what can we do? We live in another county but the case is being prosecuted in Fort Lauderdale.
Generally, when a sentence is enhanced beyond the terms previously agreed upon, it is due to the fact that a defendant has violated that agreements terms. Examples of this are when an accused absconds after being released or fails to adhere to a substantial assistance agreement requiring his helping law enforcement make other arrests or solve open cases. Assuming this is not the case, however, a motion to correct sentence is still improper as there is no procedural avenue to enforce a plea agreement. Alternatively, your brother could file for relief under S3.850 and seek to withdraw his plea. Should he be successful, his case would be re-opened. This, however, would be no guarantee that his original “plea agreement” would be enforced.
If you want to discuss this matter further, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment to speak with me at our Fort Lauderdale office.