Florida Court Explains Grounds for Revising Sentences

People charged with serious violent crimes often fear that they will be found guilty and sentenced to serve a lengthy term in prison, especially if they have prior convictions. There are limitations as to what sentences the courts can impose, however, and if they deviate from the sentencing scheme without just cause, there may be grounds for objecting to the sentence, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the defendant was convicted of attempted manslaughter and felony battery. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a violent crime, it is critical to speak to a Sarasota violent crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with attempted first-degree murder with a weapon and aggravated battery with a weapon. She was subsequently convicted of attempted manslaughter with a weapon, which was a lesser included offense of the murder charge, and felony battery, which was a lesser included offense of the battery crime. Following her sentencing, she appealed both her convictions and her sentence.

Grounds for Revising Sentences

On appeal, the defendant set forth numerous arguments. The court rejected the defendant’s first five arguments, affirming her convictions without discussion. The court then addressed the two remaining arguments the defendant asserted contesting her sentences.

The first issue concerned the sentencing designation as both a prison releasee reoffender (PRR) and a habitual felony offender (HFO). The court emphasized that under the Prison Releasee Reoffender (PRR) statute, the court is only authorized to deviate from its sentencing scheme to impose a greater sentence of incarceration.

Therefore, the court concluded that a trial court lacks the authority to sentence a defendant to an equal sentence under the Habitual Felony Offender (HFO) statute, even when such a sentence is imposed simultaneously with the PRR sentence. Consequently, the court reversed the portion of the defendant’s sentence, designating her as an HFO, and ordered the circuit court to remove this designation from her sentence. As this action was deemed a purely ministerial act, the defendant’s presence was not required for its execution.

The second issue set forth by the defendant was the misquoting of the corresponding statute for the defendant’s felony battery conviction in the circuit court’s written judgment. The court cited the wrong statute, referencing aggravated battery with a weapon instead of felony battery. Thus, the court remanded the correction of this error in the written judgment.

Confer with a Skilled Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney

There are often numerous defenses available to people who are charged with violent crimes, and in some instances, they may be able to avoid a conviction or argue down their charges. If you are accused of a violent crime, it is smart to confer with an attorney to determine your options. The skilled Sarasota violent crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law are well-versed in what it takes to prevail in criminal matters, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can contact Hanlon Law by calling 941-462-1789 or using the form online to arrange a conference.

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