10-20-Life Law in FloridaI have been asked to summarize Florida's “10-20-Life” law so many times, we decided to write a post on the newly suspended mandatory minimum statute. To learn more, keep reading below.

What is the 10-20-Life Law in Florida?

Florida's “10-20-Life” law, is a criminal statute, § 775.087, that requires judges to order mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years, 20 years, or 25 years to life for the commission of certain convictions for felonies involving the use or attempted use of a firearm or destructive device.

The penalties get even stiffer if the firearm used is an assault weapon or machine gun. In those cases, judges must impose a sentence of 15 years, 20 years, or 25 years to life.

The 10-20-Life term of incarceration must be imposed in addition and consecutive to the sentence for the underlying felony conviction.

What Kind of Cases Fell Under This Suspended Florida Statute?

Judges are required by law to impose the mandatory minimum sentences in cases involving convictions for committing or attempting to commit any of the following felonies, regardless of whether the use of the weapon was an element of the crime:

  • murder;
  • sexual battery;
  • robbery;
  • burglary;
  • arson;
  • aggravated assault;
  • aggravated battery;
  • kidnappings;
  • escape;
  • aircraft piracy;
  • aggravated child abuse;
  • aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
  • unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb;
  • carjacking;
  • home invasion robbery;
  • aggravated stalking;
  • drug trafficking and capital importation of cocaine and other illegal drugs; and
  • possession of firearm by a felon.

Under The “10-20-Life” Law, Judges Must Impose The Following:

1. 10-year prison sentence on anyone convicted of committing or attempting to commit any of the above felonies (with certain exceptions), while armed with a firearm or destructive device;

2. 20-year prison term if the accused fired the firearm; and

3. 25-year to life term if the accused discharged the firearm and killed or seriously hurt someone.

By law, judges must impose a mandatory minimum three-year term, instead of a 10-year term, if the defendant is convicted for aggravated assault with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, or burglary of a conveyance such as a car, boat, or other vessel).

If the firearm that was used during the commission of the felony is a semiautomatic weapon with a high-capacity box magazine or a machine gun, the minimum mandatory prison terms are 15 years, 20 years, and 25 years to life.

The three-year mandatory minimum sentence requirement for certain crimes doesn’t apply in cases involving these firearms. In addition, the enhanced penalties for convictions involving these types of firearms do not apply if the underlying crime was possession of a firearm by a felon.

Judges hands are tied. Judges must impose the minimum sentence regardless of any mitigating or extenuating circumstances. Judges are not authorized to suspend, defer, or withhold from imposing 10-20-Life sentences. Defendants are not eligible to earn any discretionary gain time while incarcerated or obtain early release from prison, other than receiving a pardon or clemency, or conditional medical release, before serving the minimum sentence.

You Need An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Fighting For You

If you or someone you know is facing prosecution in the state of Florida, our experienced criminal defense attorney can help fight your case. Contact us online now to schedule a free, no-cost case review with Robert Malove.

Robert Malove
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South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney