If you’re arrested for felony charges in Florida, it’s understandable that you have a lot of questions about what your sentence could be. Undoubtedly, being convicted of a felony in Florida could have serious repercussions, and lead to a lifetime of difficulty and hardship. Knowing your rights and responsibilities upon being arrested for a felony is key, hence why we’ve created this page to answer some of the questions you may have. For further information, contact Okaloosa Felony Attorney Stephen G. Cobb now at (850) 651-6565 to learn more about your legal options.
Overview of The Florida Felony Process
If you’ve been charged with a felony in Florida, you will go through a series of hearings to determine if probable cause exists for your arrest, setting bail, entering a plea and determining evidence against you. You may have the option of entering into a plea deal for a lesser charge, as charged or choose to go forward with your trial.
If you opt for a trial, you will have a jury of peers decide your fate. If you are found guilty of a felony after a trial, you will probably be taken into custody and the judge will schedule a sentencing hearing for a later date. Misdemeanor sentences are generally assigned immediately after the verdict.
Florida Felony Sentencing Guidelines
Florida’s felony sentencing guidelines are explained in detail in Section 921.0022 of the Florida Criminal Statutes. Essentially, felony offenses are broken out into 10 levels of severity, with Level 1 being the least severe, and Level 10 being the most severe. Within these levels, different crimes are assigned different degrees, for example, someone can have a Level 1 offense that is a 3rd degree felony such as forgery.
Using the levels and degrees, along with other factors such as prior offenses and other enhancements, Florida has developed a Criminal Punishment Code Scoresheet that tells us whether someone will go to prison and if so, how much time they will spend there. Using the Scoresheet, points are added up depending on the facts of the case. Initial points for each level are:
Level 1 Felonies – 4 pts
Level 2 Felonies – 10 pts
Level 3 Felonies – 16 pts
Level 4 Felonies – 22 pts
Level 5 Felonies – 28 pts
Level 6 Felonies – 36 pts
Level 7 Felonies – 56 pts
Level 8 Felonies – 74 pts
Level 9 Felonies – 92 pts
Level 10 Felonies – 116 pts
What is the punishment for a felony in Florida based on the point system?
If someone scores under 22 points, then the maximum sentence is a county jail sentence unless the State Attorney can establish a legal reason for an upward departure sentence. This is rare, but has happened.
If you or someone you love scores above 22 points but below 44 points, then the judge may impose a prison sentence, but it is not required. Above 44 points, a prison sentence in the Florida Department of Corrections prison system is required unless a Rule 3.992(b) departure ground applies.
Felony sentences in Florida vary widely depending upon whether charges are added, dropped, increased or reduced. Prior criminal record is also factored into criminal sentencing.
Contact Seasoned Okaloosa – Walton Felony Attorney Stephen G. Cobb Today
As a Certified Criminal Trial Law Specialist, Okaloosa Felony Attorney Stephen G. Cobb has extensive experience representing clients facing felony convictions in Okaloosa, Florida and surrounding areas. Contact our firm for a free consultation, where Mr. Cobb will answer all of your questions and develop a strategy to protect your future. Call Stephen G. Cobb at (850) 651-6565 today to protect your legal rights and interests.