Earlier in the year, in February to be exact, a new law repealed Florida’s much maligned 10-20-Life law. Senate Bill 228 repealed the sentencing mandate, once again giving judges the freedom to hand down sentences based upon a crime, the criminal and unique circumstances. The regained discretion was welcomed by judges and attorneys alike.

We are now six months beyond the repeal, and those charged with gun crimes are getting a day in court that is fair. If you were not familiar, the 10-20-Life law forced judges to sentence a person to 10 years in prison if they displayed a gun. A person who fired a gun was sentenced to 20 years. If a person was wounded, the shooter was sentenced to 25 years or more (the equivalent of life).

When 10-20-Life was imposed, over 15,000 people were sentenced under its guidelines. Sadly, the law did not differentiate between people who fired guns into the air as warning shots and people who fired at others. For example, Orville Lee Wollard III, was sentenced to a mandatory 20 years after firing a warning shot in his own home intended to scare off his teenage daughter’s boyfriend.

Those people sentenced under the old law were not affected by its repeal. Those already in prison under the strict law must serve the remainder of their time. For those moving forward, however, mandatory jail sentences are no longer issued. This is good news for first-time criminals and those who were not attempting to commit a crime when they brandished or shot their weapons. It also makes it possible for a judge to determine if someone should be given a second chance.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a gun crime in Florida, you do not have to worry about the 10-20-Life law, but you do have a right to be stressed about your future. Florida is still tough on gun crimes and mounting a strong defense is your best option. Call our team today for a free case evaluation and let us tell you how we can assist you. We have years of experience in defending those accused of gun crimes. Let us put our knowledge to work for you.

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