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Florida Sentencing

1While many criminal defense attorneys and criminal defendants do not like to think about the “sentencing” proceeding, sentencing is a critical stage of the criminal proceeding. Inevitably in many criminal cases, there will come a time when the accused will be sentenced either after trial or during negotiations of a negotiated plea agreement with the Assistant State Attorney prosecuting the criminal file. How a criminal defendant is prepared for his or her sentencing can make the difference between probation and incarceration or between a withhold of adjudication and being a convicted felon for the remainder of one’s life. Prepare for the worst, so the best outcome may be pronounced by the sitting judge, as your liberty depends on it-Andrew D. Stine.

Sentencing in Florida is a critical stage in the criminal justice system. The accused has the right to a lawyer, during his or her sentencing proceeding. This right to lawyer means an aggressive, understanding, compassionate, learned, experienced lawyer, who understands the mitigating factors and laws of mitigation that judge’s may consider during the sentence phase of the accused.  While there is no bright line rule for why a judge may mitigate or lower a sentence, there is statutory factors the judge may follow and there is plenty of case law in Florida that helps a judge determine an appropriate sentence of the accused.

The statutory factors that the sentencing judge may consider in mitigating a sentence of an accused are contained in 921.0016 of the Fla. General Statutes. Knowing where to find the sentencing mitigators and knowing how to use the sentencing mitigators is what separates the wheat from the chaff. With over a decade of criminal defense experience and thousands of criminal files under his belt, West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine has developed strategies for ever client who comes through his door and is facing sentencing, so that the wheat may prosper and chaff may be discarded.

Arguing that the criminal defendant facing sentence for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, should receive a withhold of adjudication and 12 months’ probation is proper. The defendant may argue during sentencing that a mitigating factor is he or she has no significant criminal history. If the argument of no criminal history is made during sentencing by the accused in mitigation of sentence, the prosecution is entitled to rebut the same with direct evidence of criminal activity, including arrests. In Florida, if the accused attempts to mitigate their sentence under the theory that they have no “criminal record” the assistant state attorney may argue that a single prior arrest, without a conviction, may negate the mitigated sentence and this is proper. See Cave v. Sect. for Dept. of Corr., 638 F.3d 739 (11thCir. 2011).

Arguing that the accused, a certified nursing assistant, should not serve prison time for the theft of over $50,000.00 from an elderly patient that the accused was in charge of caring for because restitution outweighs incarceration is proper. West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine has successfully argued for mitigation of sentence in many grand theft crimes, on the grounds that restitution to the victim outweighs incarceration of the accused. Restitution outweighing incarceration has long been a valid and justified factor for mitigation of sentence in Florida. However, if the elderly patient is a very wealthy millionaire from Palm Beach, then the sentencing judge may find that the harm to society outweighs the restitution to the victim and incarcerate the accused. To combat this problem, experienced criminal trial lawyer Andrew D. Stine deposed the victim before the sentencing hearing. The victim during her deposition said in her own words: “I want my money back.”  When a victim of white collar thefts or crimes request their money back in lieu of imprisonment of the accused, the judge will likely swing back to mitigating the sentence of the accused to include no jail time as long as the restitution is paid back in full to the victim.

Arguing for a downward departure or mitigation of sentence from a DUI Homicide and DUI causing sever bodily injury is also permitted in Florida.  Palm Beach Criminal DUI Defense Attorney, Andrew D. Stine, completed this feat in front of Honorable Jeffery Colbath.  The facts show that the driver drank 6 to 8 bottles of Corona. The driver consumed the alcohol with his brother and co-workers, after work at a local Jupiter restaurant.  While the driver was proceeding home with his brother as a passenger, he lost control of the truck and it flipped over and immediately caught fire.  The driver sustained severe bodily injuries and the passenger died due to smoke inhalation caused by the fire in the truck.  The driver’s BAC was over .18% at the time of the crash. Given the fact that a person was killed because of drunk driving, most people including lawyers do not believe the court can mitigate the dui driver’s sentence to no jail time, house arrest or even county jail time. Most people believe the dui driver must go to prison if found guilty or pleads guilty to a dui homicide or manslaughter. This is not true and not the law in Florida. The court in fact may depart from the minimum sentence of 148 months in prison, as it did in the dui manslaughter case DUI Lawyer Andrew D. Stine handled in front of Judge Colbath for the following reasons.  Mitigation of a DUI manslaughter or permitting a downward departure of the same, is acceptable in Florida, if the offense was committed in an unsophisticated manner and this does apply to driving under the influence manslaughter and DUI with serious bodily injury crimes. See State v. Van Beeber 848 So. 2d 1046 (Fla. 2003).

West Palm Beach Criminal defense attorney, Andrew D. Stine, truly believes that most judges are sympathetic to many criminal defendant’s because people overall want to give others a second chance-it is just our nature.  In order for a sentencing judge to give you or a loved one a second chance, after a mistake was made, even a mistake that takes the life of your family member in a DUI manslaughter case, you must contact the experienced criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine in West Palm Beach, FL.

Palm Beach criminal defense attorney Andrew D. Stine will personally handle your file from beginning to end. Attorney Stine will pay close attention to all aspects of your wishes and needs, including how to best prepare you for sentencing, if need be. If you or a loved one needs a criminal lawyer in Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Wellington, Jupiter, Lake-Worth, Lantana, Royal Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton or in Jupiter contact West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine. “Hire Stine or Do the Time!”

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