In Florida, when a defendant is convicted of a sex crime, the courts will look to statutory guidelines to determine an appropriate sentence. Depending on the facts of the case, it may require the court to employ a sentencing multiplier. While doing so will typically increase a sentence, in a recent Florida sex crime case, a defendant argued that the application of the adult-on-minor multiplier required the court to reduce, rather than increase, his sentence. If you are charged with a sex crime, you could face significant penalties, and it is smart to meet with a trusted Sarasota sex crime defense attorney to discuss your rights.
The Defendant’s Conviction and Sentencing
It is alleged that the defendant was charged with two counts of lascivious or lewd battery on a person between the ages of twelve and sixteen. He was convicted of both counts and sentenced to 182 months in prison on each count, to be served consecutively. He subsequently appealed his sentence.
The Impact of the Adult-On-Minor Multiplier
On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred in failing to apply the adult-on-minor multiplier and that had it done so, he would have received a lesser sentence. The appellate court declined to adopt his reasoning and affirmed his sentence.
First, the appellate court agreed with the defendant’s argument that the application of the multiplier was mandatory rather than discretionary. The appellate court noted that the drug trafficking multiplier included discretionary language while the adult-on-minor multiplier did not, which supported the assertion that consideration of the adult-on-minor multiplier during sentencing was mandatory.
Although the appellate court conceded that the trial court erred in not considering the adult-on-minor multiplier, it nonetheless ruled that the defendant received an appropriate sentence for each count. The appellate court explained that the limiting language in the multiplier prohibited the trial court from doubling the defendant’s sentence points. As such, the trial court was required to sentence the defendant to the maximum statutory sentence for the first count without applying the multiplier.
The appellate court noted that the limiting language only referred to the primary offense, which meant that it did not apply to his secondary offense. In other words, despite the defendant’s arguments to the contrary, it did not require the trial court to reduce his sentence for the primary offense. As such, the appellate court affirmed the defendant’s sentence.
Confer with a Seasoned Sarasota Criminal Defense Lawyer
A conviction for a sex crime can result in a lengthy prison sentence, and it is crucial that anyone charged with a sex offense hire an attorney that will mount compelling defenses on their behalf. If you are charged with a sex crime, it is in your best interest to confer with an attorney as soon as possible. The seasoned Sarasota criminal defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can advise you of your potential defenses and help you to seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can contact Hanlon Law through the online form or by calling 941-462-1789 to set up a conference.