Understanding Florida’s 10-20-Life Law
The Florida criminal justice system is one of the harshest in the country. Not only does Florida employ some of the toughest penalties for drug-related offenses, but they have equally harsh penalties for crimes that involve weapons. To control an alarming number of gun-related crimes in the state, Florida enacted the 10-20-Life Law. This law allows Florida to use a zero-tolerance approach toward anyone in possession of a firearm while committing a crime – even if that crime was unsuccessful.
10-20-Life Law is Defined by Statute 775.087
Under Florida Statute 775.087, any possession or use of a firearm during a felony can result in an automatic reclassification of that offense and minimum, mandatory sentences. If you are arrested for a crime during which you displayed, used, or threatened to use your firearm during a felony, you could face reclassification as follows:
- A first-degree felony becomes a life felony.
- A second-degree felony becomes a first-degree felony.
- A third-degree felony becomes a second-degree felony.
Possession Without a Crime
Under the statute, a felon caught in possession of a firearm or other weapon can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum three years in prison – regardless of whether or not they had committed a crime with that weapon.
Brandishing a Weapon
If a weapon is brandished during the commission of the following offenses, a judge may impose the maximum sentence possible:
- Aggravated battery
- Aggravated child abuse
- Aggravated elder abuse
- Assault or aggravated assault
- Drug possession or trafficking
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated piracy
- Home invasion
The Mandatory Minimum Sentences Under 10-20-Life
Under the statute, the law imposes the following mandatory, minimum sentences for offenders:
- Possession of a Firearm by a Felon – 3 years
- Brandishing a Weapon During the Commission of a Crime – 10 years
- Committing a Crime While In Possession of a Weapon – 15 years
- Discharging a Weapon During the Commission of a Crime – 20 years
- Discharging a Weapon and Injuring or Killing a Person During the Commission of a Crime – 25 years to life
Consult With an Attorney Regarding a Potential 10-20-Life Charge
It is important to consult with an attorney that fully understands the complexities associated with a conviction under the 10-20-Life Law. The Law Offices of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. can aggressively challenge those charges and counter attempts to force you into harsh penalties. For more information about the 10-20-Life Law, or if you are facing a potential conviction under this law, contact us for an initial consultation at 904-356-8618 or fill out an online contact form.