There is no denying that the state of Florida is extremely tough when it comes to punishing law-breakers. Florida’s strict “10, 20, Life” sentencing law is a law that applies a sentence of 10 years for employing a gun in the commission of a crime, 20 years for firing the gun in the commission of a crime, and 25 to life for injuring or killing someone with a gun.
It doesn’t matter what the crime is. It can be anything from sexual battery and robbery, to aggravated assault/battery and kidnapping. Is this an effective law? Depends on whom you ask.
According to the FPC (Florida Parole Commission) in 2000, there was a 26.4% decrease in gun-related, violent crime compared to 1998. Florida’s crime index rate for 2000, which is based on a variety of crimes, dropped 18% from the year before, and it reached its lowest level in nearly 28 years. But that doesn’t mean it is perfect either. There are many criticisms of the 10-20-Life law. One being that the sentence cannot be assessed solely on the type of offense committed and on an offender’s criminal history. For example, in a “conspiracy drug ring” case it is possible that someone can get four and a half years more than the average sentence for murder and manslaughter. People believing that they’re innocent of the charges can get a very harsh sentence if found guilty. Meanwhile, people who believe they are guilty will get a lower sentence by taking a plea deal.
That doesn’t seem too fair, does it? It’s important to contact an experienced defense attorney if you find yourself in this legal nightmare.