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What is 10-20-Life?

Many Tampa criminal lawyers are asked about the specifics of 10-20-Life and its impact on an individual’s criminal case.   10-20-Life involves cases, where firearms are used in connection during certain enumerated offenses.

In January 1999, the Florida Legislature passed the 10-20-Life law.  As part of the Law, the Florida Legislature enacted a significant amount of marketing to attempt to educate the general public of the increased punishments under the Law.  The Law created minimum mandatory for a number of offenses, but is most noteworthy for the following provisions:

  • Felon in actual possession of a firearm – 3 year minimum mandatory prison sentence;
  • Producing or brandishing a firearm during the commission of certain felonies mandates at least a 10 year prison sentence;
  • Firing a firearm during an enumerated offense mandates at least a 20 year prison sentence; and
  • Shooting someone during the commission of an enumerated offense mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years to life.

Unfortunately, only the State Attorney’s Office can waive the requirement.  This often makes up a significant portion of the plea negotiations in these sorts of cases.  It is worth noting that these are minimum mandatory sentences, where no good or gain time credit is provided to the Defendant.

A judge can only waive the requirement if the Defendant is sentenced as a youthful offender.  10-20-Life has totally changed the sentencing structure in Florida for judge in gun crimes.  Frankly, the Statute took all sentencing discretion away from Florida Judges, regardless of mitigation evidence.  This is extremely unfortunate because a Judge now cannot look at the unique facts of the case and issue an appropriate sentence.  Ultimately, those charged with Florida firearm crimes face very serious penalties and length prison sentences.

If you or someone you know has been effected by 10-20-Life, contact the Tampa criminal lawyers of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation.  As I am sure you can imagine, these are very serious cases with serious punishments, we have handled many of these matters.  Thank you for taking the time to check out our Tampa criminal lawyer blog.  We look forward to working with you.