The United States is without question the country that sends the largest percentage of its citizenry to prison. No other nation on planet earth even comes close to our country’s rate of incarceration. Florida alone imprisons more people than most of countries on the planet. This culture of incarceration has been embedded into the laws of the land since the inception of our nation. Florida especially had doubled down on harsh sentencing laws that often send people off on lengthy prison sentences for nonviolent offenses and drug crimes. Luckily, there are options utilized by skilled Clearwater criminal lawyers to help their clients avoid those prison sentences that are handed down so often.
The most heinous human rights violations occur when people are shipped off to prison for nonviolent drug offenses. Very often, people with drug offenses also have drug problems. And when people have drug problems, they may end up arrested for multiple prior drug offenses. The potential prison sentence that is faced by a defendant is determined by the offense level of the charge they are currently facing, combined with the offense levels of his or her prior record. People with extensive drug records can sometimes end up with extraordinary scoresheets facing ridiculous sentences for minor offenses.Alternative Sentencing Motions
A skilled Clearwater criminal lawyer has many tools he or she can use in order to circumvent these lenghty prison sentences. Often, downward departure motions are used in order to legally allow judges to sentence defendants below their minimum possible sentences. Downward departure motions, however, are strictly limited to certain relaitively rare circumstances. Defendants are also prohibited from requesting a downward departure in a circumstance where they claim a drug addiction or other problem not caused by mental illness.
This is the circumstance where an alternative sentencing motion comes in. Under 948.01(7)(a), a court can sentence non violent drug offenders to sentences below the mandatory minimum if the court finds that the defendant qualifies under certain circumstances. If the defendant is convicted of a crime of simple possession of a controlled substance, the court can sentence the defendant to a non-prison sentence regardless of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed by the guidelines. The court must make a finding that the defendant suffers from addiction related issues and that the defendant is amenable to treatment.
Many lawyers are unaware that such a sentencing motion can apply to offenses that are only drug related, and not drug possession charges. So long as the offense is a a nonviolent third degree felony, and the court finds that the defendant suffers from a drug addiction that contributed to the offense, the court can also sentence the defendant below the applicable guidelines for that crime. There is an additional requirement in this circumstance that the defendant have 60 or fewer sentencing points on his or her scoresheet. Nevertheless, utilizing these tools available in many nonviolent drug offender cases can result in excellent outcomes for your case. Contacting a dedicated Clearwater criminal lawyer can often be the difference between a stringent prison sentence and freedom.Contact our Attorneys Today
The lawyers at Hanlon Law pride themselves on the varied experience they have developed over dozens of years and thousands of cases. Many attorneys choose the path of least resistance, and uneducated clients are often left hanging. We choose instead to inform our clients of each development in their cases and to educate them on all of the available options to proceed. By adopting this approach, our clients more often make the right decision for themselves and come away more than satisfied with our services. To learn how we can develop a strategy for your case, call today for a consultation at 727-897-5413.