State lawmakers are looking at adjustments to Florida’s strict 10-20-Life gun crimes laws, and a Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case is being touted as an example of why excluding “warning shot” cases may be beneficial. The state has been holding hearings about revisions to the controversial Stand Your Ground law, but is now focusing in on possible changes to the 10-20-Life law, according to a report on News4Jax.
The state law now provides the following minimum mandatory sentences for Jacksonville Gun Crimes:
10 years for showing a gun during the commission of a felony 20 years for firing a gun during the commission of a felony Life in prison for shooting someone on the commission of a felony
If there’s a confrontation involved, the felony is simple for the state to charge – it’ll likely be an Jacksonvilleaggravated assault. Jacksonville’s Marissa Alexander has become the prime example for advocates of changing the law. She was found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault for firing a warning shot when she said her husband was threatening her. His two children were present, hence the three charges in her Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison and the judge had no choice in the matter. Her conviction has since been overturned and a bail hearing is set for this week.
Prosecutors are lobbying to keep the law the same. Of course they are. The 10-20-Life law has turned into one of their biggest negotiating chips – especially in questionable cases that could go either way at trial. The state hangs those sentences over a defendant’s head during any plea negotiations. For example, the state may be offering three years in prison in a case with a 20-year minimum mandatory sentence. The defendant then has a difficulty choice – take the three years and get out, or risk it at trial knowing there’s a mandatory 20 years if things don’t go your way. Many defendants in Jacksonville Gun Crimes Cases end up taking a deal that might be three years and cutting their losses. But, without the 20-year minimum sentence in place, more defendants may take their Jacksonville Gun Crime Case to trial, knowing that the judge then has discretion to look at the facts and circumstances and make a fair determination for a sentence. Judges have been practicing attorneys for years before taking the bench and most have some background in criminal law. Yet prosecutors will fight at every turn to try to tie the judge’s hands in sentencing and to try to guarantee outcomes in cases, especially Jacksonville Gun Crimes Cases. But not every arrest and every charge should be treated equally in terms of sentencing.
Our Jacksonville Gun Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of people charges with gun crimes – including those facing minimum mandatory sentences. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney can advise you of your options and the consequences, so you can make the best decision going forward.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.