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Jacksonville Criminal Law Attorney - Timothy Armstrong, PAThe Florida criminal justice system is one of the harshest in the country. Not only does Florida employ some of the toughest penalties for drug-related offenses, but they have equally harsh penalties for crimes that involve weapons. To control an alarming number of gun-related crimes in the state, Florida enacted the 10-20-Life Law. This law allows Florida to use a zero-tolerance approach toward anyone in possession of a firearm while committing a crime – even if that crime was unsuccessful.

10-20-Life Law is Defined by Statute 775.087

Under Florida Statute 775.087, any possession or use of a firearm during a felony can result in an automatic reclassification of that offense and minimum, mandatory sentences. If you are arrested for a crime during which you displayed, used, or threatened to use your firearm during a felony, you could face reclassification as follows:

  1. A first-degree felony becomes a life felony.
  2. A second-degree felony becomes a first-degree felony.
  3. A third-degree felony becomes a second-degree felony.

Possession Without a Crime

Under the statute, a felon caught in possession of a firearm or other weapon can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum three years in prison – regardless of whether or not they had committed a crime with that weapon.

Brandishing a Weapon

If a weapon is brandished during the commission of the following offenses, a judge may impose the maximum sentence possible:

  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Battery
  • Aggravated battery
  • Aggravated child abuse
  • Aggravated elder abuse
  • Burglary
  • Assault or aggravated assault
  • Drug possession or trafficking
  • Sexual battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated piracy
  • Stalking
  • Carjacking
  • Home invasion

The Mandatory Minimum Sentences Under 10-20-Life

Under the statute, the law imposes the following mandatory, minimum sentences for offenders:

  • Possession of a Firearm by a Felon – 3 years
  • Brandishing a Weapon During the Commission of a Crime – 10 years
  • Committing a Crime While In Possession of a Weapon – 15 years
  • Discharging a Weapon During the Commission of a Crime – 20 years
  • Discharging a Weapon and Injuring or Killing a Person During the Commission of a Crime – 25 years to life

Consult With an Attorney Regarding a Potential 10-20-Life Charge

It is important to consult with an attorney that fully understands the complexities associated with a conviction under the 10-20-Life Law. The Law Offices of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. can aggressively challenge those charges and counter attempts to force you into harsh penalties. For more information about the 10-20-Life Law, or if you are facing a potential conviction under this law, contact us for an initial consultation at 904-356-8618 or fill out an online contact form.