Law Office of William B. Wynne
2501 Orient Rd., Suite D
Tampa, FL 33619
Office: (813) 532-5057
If you have been charged with a felony in Florida, it’s imperative that you speak with a Tampa felony lawyer right away. Felony crimes are the most complicated and serious offenses in Florida. The government invests substantial time and resources into training and honing its most experienced and accomplished prosecutors to handle such cases. Undoubtedly, facing felony charges without a dedicated advocate in your corner can be a daunting and overwhelming experience.
Felony crimes—unlike misdemeanors—are handled by circuit court judges and are punishable by the possibility of more than one year in jail. In Florida, there are five classes of felonies. The law specifies which felony crimes fall under which class. Ultimately, the sentence a defendant receives in his or her case, can be attributed (to a great extent) to these assigned classes.
To achieve uniform sentencing throughout Florida, the Florida Criminal Punishment Code (CPC) was devised by the Supreme Court in the early 1980’s. It was originally patterned after the federal system. Instead of giving individual judges unfettered discretion in fashioning a sentence, the Supreme Court sought to implement an objective and uniform method of calculating a sentence. It was thought that this would help prevent disparities in sentencing and promote justice. Of course, this objective formulaic standard produced its own set of problems and disparities. Be that as it may, offenses are now sentenced pursuant to the CPC.
Under the CPC, a felony is assigned a numerical value based on a ranking system set by the Florida legislature. If you score less than 44 points, the judge is not required to sentence you to prison but may still do so. You can think of the CPC as a calculator, that takes in several different numbers, like offense level, prior number of arrests, and injury to victim (if any), and then spits out a number. That number is typically the minimum prison sentence (in months) that a defendant must serve, if he is convicted or otherwise found guilty.
For example, if John Doe gets arrested and charged with Battery on a Pregnant Female, and the prosecutor tells the judge in open court, that Mr. Doe scores 18.5 months in the Department of Corrections, it means that 18.5 months is his minimum sentence. In other words, if Mr. Doe is found guilty (or otherwise convicted) either by a plea to the court, or by a jury after trial, the court must sentence him to at least 18.5 months in prison, absent a downward departure. Keep in mind, that’s just the minimum. The court can certainly sentence him up to the statutory maximum. A Tampa felony lawyer can examine a defendant’s calculated sentence under the CPC for any errors or inaccuracies, and even argue for a downward departure.
In addition to the possibility of imprisonment and fines, felony convictions carry a number of additional consequences:
Felony crimes are the most complicated and serious offenses in Florida. Typically, the government trains and hones its most experienced and accomplished prosecutors to handle such cases.
Make no mistake, a felony conviction has devastating consequences and will severely limit your employment opportunities, your ability to obtain suitable housing, your ability to travel, and your ability to maintain good credit and secure loans—in addition to the loss of your civil rights. If you have been charged with a felony, it is therefore imperative that you seek the assistance of an experienced Tampa felony lawyer. After your case is resolved, if your attorney was able to avoid a conviction, and provided you have no prior convictions, you can then discuss whether you might be eligible to seal or expunge your felony criminal record.
The Law Office of William B. Wynne, P.L.L.C., represents clients in all criminal matters, including felony cases. Consultations are free of charge, and we offer payment plans to those who qualify. Call today to speak with a Tampa felony lawyer! (813) 532-5057