Criminal Defense Attorney Explains How to Reduce a Florida Criminal Sentence
Those arrested need honest advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer to try to obtain the lightest sentence, says West Palm Beach attorney Andrew Stine
Many of those facing criminal charges in Florida face the possibility of spending time in prison, possibly many years depending on the alleged crime. West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Andrew Stine in a Google+ Hangout says that there are different ways to address that possibility but no matter the situation, he says one thing remains the same, his honesty with his client.
Whether a client wants to discuss a possible plea bargain or try to convince a judge to deviate from the sentencing guidelines, his approach is the same. “The most important thing is to be truthful with the client.” “I’m not a magician. I cannot make things up. I cannot sugarcoat things,” he says. A client can only make an educated, informed decision on what should be done to reduce a possible criminal sentence, by getting Stine’s honest and experienced opinion on the facts and law in the applicable case.
Stine says, he also needs to maintain his integrity in order to serve his clients. “You have to know the prosecutors and judges. You have to know what evidence and arguments, you can use, because you don’t want to lose credibility with the judges and the prosecutor’s office.”
Depending on the case’s status, the evidence and applicable laws, there are different ways to eliminate or lessen the risk of a prison sentence. “Under Florida’s criminal codes, defendants are looking at possible prison time on many felony cases. A client needs to make a determination. Should the client go to trial or negotiate and accept a guilty plea?”
Through a negotiated plea agreement, a defendant may agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a sentence with reduced jail time or no jail time at all. The person may be put on probation or serve time on house arrest in lieu of prison or jail time.
Even if a client decides to go to trial and is found guilty, depending on the circumstances, the defendant may be able to convince a judge not to follow sentencing guidelines and impose a lesser punishment. The judge would need to decide if there’s a valid legal reason not to follow the guidelines. If so, the judge decides, based on the totality of the circumstances, what’s the best sentencing option?
Stine says, the best chances to successfully argue for a reduced sentence happen when:
• The defendant is young, age 20 or younger, as the young person isn’t mentally developed, isn’t mature enough to truly understand the situation and the consequences of his or her action. The young defendant may be considered a youthful offender and avoid the consequences spelled out in the guidelines.
• The crime was an isolated incident. This may be a first offense or a defendant may have only a few arrests in his or her history that are very minor.
• The crime was simple and unsophisticated, like DUI and even DUI with severe bodily injury does qualify as an unsophisticated offense.
“You need an experienced Florida criminal attorney, who knows how to file these very important motions to mitigate and reduce sentence,” Stine says. Often expert witnesses are needed to testify about the defendant and the crime, in order to convince the judge to deviate from sentencing guidelines and over the years Stine has learned how to best use experts such as doctors and psychologists in this effort.
If you have been arrested in Florida, you need to protect your rights and liberty. Defense attorney Andrew D Stine can help defend you against these charges with his knowledge, experience and passion to protect people from unwarranted criminal charges. Contact his office at (561) 880-4300 today. Hire Stine or Do The Time.