Florida Court Discusses Sentence Modifications in Gun Crime Case

In Florida, people generally have the right to carry firearms. There are exceptions to the rule, however. For example, people convicted of felonies can be charged with crimes for possessing weapons. Convictions for such offenses can carry significant penalties, and in many cases, it is unlikely that any subsequent changes in the law provide grounds for a reduced sentence, as explained in a recent Florida ruling. If you are charged with a weapons crime, it is smart to contact a Tampa gun crime defense lawyer to determine your possible defenses.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the defendant pleaded guilty to possession of multiple firearms as a convicted felon and received a sentence of 97 months in prison, based on his offense level and criminal history category. Subsequently, certain sentencing adjustments were issued by the United States Sentencing Commission, including Amendment 821, which the defendant sought to apply retroactively to his case.

It is reported that the defendant particularly focused on the part of Amendment 821, which allows for a downward departure in a defendant’s criminal history category if certain criteria are met, including prior convictions for possession of marijuana for personal use. Additionally, he argued that the executive order issued by President Joe Biden granting pardons for simple possession of marijuana offenses applied to his case. As such, he sought a revised sentencing of 87 months or lower based on these developments.

Grounds for Modifying Sentences

On appeal, the court rejected the defendant’s arguments and affirmed his sentence. In doing so, the court explained that a motion to modify a final judgment pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2) was a narrow exception to the rule against modifying final judgments.

The court had to undertake a two-step process to determine whether a sentence should be modified based on a lowered sentencing range. First, it had to determine if a retroactive amendment to the Sentencing Guidelines indeed lowered the defendant’s guidelines range and whether a reduction was consistent with applicable policy statements. Second, if both conditions were met, the court had to consider the § 3553(a) factors to determine if it would exercise its discretion to reduce the defendant’s sentence. The court noted that while parts A and B of Amendment 821 applied retroactively, there was no indication that Part C applied retroactively.

Additionally, the court found that President Biden’s pardon did not directly impact the defendant’s case as his marijuana conviction was under state law. Therefore, as there was no applicable amendment that would lower the defendant’s guidelines range and no showing that any reduction would be consistent with an applicable policy statement, the court denied the defendant’s motion for a reduction of his sentence.

Talk to an Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney

People convicted of gun offenses may face substantial penalties, but in many instances, they may have grounds for arguing for a reduced sentence. If you are charged with a weapons crime, it is smart to talk to an attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to set forth. The experienced Tampa gun crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can evaluate your case and inform you of your options for seeking a just outcome. You can reach Hanlon Law by using the form online or by calling us at 813-228-7095 to schedule a meeting.

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