10/20/Life Statute

Dedicated Gun Crime Lawyer Representing Defendants in Tampa

About 20 years ago, the State of Florida put in place a mandatory minimum sentencing law that is commonly known as the 10/20/Life Statute. The basics of the law are that an offender is automatically sentenced to 10 years in prison if they pull a gun during a crime, 20 years to life if they fire a gun, and 25 years to life in prison if they actually shoot another individual. If you have been charged with a crime that is covered by the 10/20/Life Statute, you need to talk to a Tampa gun crime attorney about your case as soon as possible. Seasoned attorney Will Hanlon has more than 20 years of experience handling criminal cases, and he is here to advocate for your legal rights if you are facing prosecution in the Florida court system.

The 10/20/Life Statute was designed with the aspiration of combating growing gun violence in Florida. Whether or not this goal has been accomplished is a subject of heated debate, but one thing is for sure: the 10/20/Life Statute has some very harsh applications. Under Florida Code § 775.087, a person who “actually possesses” a “firearm or destructive device” during the commission of certain offenses faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years in the state penitentiary. Included in these offenses are not only violent crimes like murder and robbery but also burglary, trafficking in illegal drugs, sexual battery, arson, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, carjacking, aggravated stalking, and several other offenses.

Exploring Possible Defenses to a Criminal Charge Involving a Firearm

The State of Florida has the burden of proof if it is arguing that the 10/20/Life Statute applies. This means that the prosecuting attorney must produce sufficient evidence to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant should be subject to the statute. If there was some illegality in the way that police obtained a certain piece of evidence, it may be possible for the defendant to file a motion to have that evidence excluded at trial. Under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, tainted evidence is inadmissible in most cases. If the evidence in question is crucial, this might lead to an acquittal or, alternatively, a plea agreement to a lesser charge. For example, if officers recovered a weapon during a search that was conducted in violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the trial court might potentially rule that the physical evidence that was obtained illegally should not be shown to the jury. Without the evidence, the jury might not be convinced of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A confession obtained in violation of the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to refrain from self-incrimination might likewise be excluded, again making the State’s case much more difficult to prove. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help a defendant review each and every element of the State’s case, with an eye toward excluding any evidence that may have been obtained illegally. There may also be other “holes” in the State’s case – areas in which evidence regarding a particular element of the crime is lacking or very weak. Other defenses, such as self-defense or entrapment, may also be viable under the facts of a particular case.

Hire Tampa Attorney Will Hanlon to Fight the Application of the 10/20/Life Statute

If you have been charged with an offense that is punishable under Florida’s draconian 10/20/Life Statute, you need dependable legal advice from someone who can help you explore all of your legal options. Experienced Tampa attorney Will Hanlon understands that a prompt, vigorous response is necessary if you are facing this type of charge or any other charge related to a firearms offense. For an appointment to discuss your case, call now at 813-228-7095 or contact us online. Hanlon Law also is available to represent people who need a domestic violence lawyer or assistance in fighting charges of drug crimes or sex crimes.