Section 775.087, Florida Statues, more commonly known as the Florida 10-20-Life law states that a person convicted of a felony will incur more penalties if a gun was used during the crime. “Using” a gun does not necessarily mean firing the weapon, mere possession will be enough for an individual to be subject to increased penalties under Florida law. The Florida 10-20-Life law was passed in 1999 following closely the statistics revealing that well over 31,000 violent crimes were committed with guns the prior year, 1998.

Because this law pertains to felonies, it is useful to understand first what a felony is. A felony is a level of crime, typically more serious than a misdemeanor. Felonies are most easily distinguishable from misdemeanors by reference to possible incarceration. Incarceration for a misdemeanor in Florida cannot exceed 365 days. By contrast, incarceration for a felony can range anywhere from a maximum of 5 years imprisonment for the lowest level (Third Degree), to death, depending on the crime. Crimes like murder, robbery, and rape, are all considered felonies. Examples of non-violent felonies include varying types of fraud, forgery, and grand theft.

The Penalty Enhancement of the 10-20-Life law

The enhanced penalties associated with the Florida 10-20-Life law are imposed as a result of use or possession of a firearm. Possession of a firearm, whether possessed or stolen during the commission of the felony can trigger minimum-mandatory sentences of 3, 5, and sometimes 10 years in prison. If the firearm was actually fired, a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison can be imposed. If the firing (or discharge) of the firearm results in death or serious bodily injury a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence can be imposed.

What to do if you or a loved one are charged with a felony with 10-20-Life implications?

Answer: Hire an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony, you NEED an experienced criminal defense attorney. Russell McCormick is that Criminal Defense attorney. With him, you can rest easy knowing that you have more than 10 years of award-winning experience on your side. Call 904-353-0436 today and speak to an experienced Jacksonville defense attorney.

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