Clearwater Three Strikes Law
Florida has its own version of the three strikes law, which it calls the three-time violent felony offender law. This is a law that is meant to punish habitual offenders harsher than those who are on their first or second felony. Those convicted under this enhancement will face very lengthy mandatory prison sentences for crimes that would have otherwise had the possibility for more lenient resolutions. In this article, we’ll discuss the three-time violent felony offender law and how it works.
Some of the crimes that qualify someone for a “strike” under the law include:
- Voluntary manslaughter
Each of these is a crime of intent. The defendant must have intended to do something violent. While voluntary manslaughter counts as a strike, DUI manslaughter and related offenses do not.
What you need to know about the three-time violent felony offender law
If a defendant has two prior violent felonies on their record and is designated as a three-time violent felony offender, the judge must impose the mandatory minimum sentence. If the crime is a first-degree felony, the judge will have no discretion to assign a lesser sentence and the defendant will be forced to serve every day of the 30-year sentence without the possibility of early release or good and gain time.
Criteria for a Three-Time Violent Felony Offender
Under Florida law, a person may be labeled as a three-time violent felony offender if:
- The individual was convicted of two violent felonies in the past. Misdemeanors, DUI manslaughter and other negligence-based convictions don’t count.
- The convictions must have taken place on separate occasions. For example, you can’t be convicted under the three-strikes law if you shoot three people during the same event.
- The third crime must be a violent felony.
- The third crime must have been committed within five years of the second crime.
Penalties Under the Three-Time Violent Felony Offender law
Sentencing under the three-time violent felony offender law removes the discretion that a judge may otherwise have. This is done by imposing minimum mandatory prison sentences that even a judge cannot waive. The penalties are:
- Third degree felony: Mandatory five-year prison sentence
- Second degree felony: Mandatory fifteen-year prison sentence
- First degree felony: Mandatory thirty-year prison sentence
Talk to a Clearwater, FL Three-Strikes Law Attorney
If you are facing your third strike, then the stakes are considerably higher than they were the first two times. Mandatory minimums of no less than five years would have to be served for such convictions. Call King Law Group today to discuss your situation with a seasoned attorney and we can get started preparing your defense to the charges.