LI: Changes Proposed to Florida’s Infamous “10-20-Life” Sentencing Law

Looks like some changes may be coming for Florida’s “10-20-Life” mandatory minimum sentencing scheme:

One of Florida’s more interesting laws is the so-called “10-20-Life” statute, properly cited as §775.087 Possession or use of weapon; aggravated battery; felony reclassification; minimum sentence.  In a nutshell, §775.087 provides, among other things, for mandatory minimum sentences for the possession or use of a firearm while committing one of several enumerated violent crimes.  It appears likely now that some substantial changes will be made to §775.087, particularly in the context of self-defense.  (The PDF of the proposed revised bill is embedded at the bottom of this post.)

§775.087 has, of course, long been a target for groups who oppose mandatory minimum sentencing as a matter of policy.  More interestingly, it has also become a target for the self-defense advocacy community, who believe the statute has been used inappropriately against people who were merely acting in self-defense.

In effect, the statute lists 18 various crimes, and then establishes mandatory minimum sentences if a person convicted of one of those crimes was either in possession of or discharged a firearm while committing the underlying crime:

§775.087(2)(a)(1): Possession of firearm = 10 year mandatory minimum.

§775.087(2)(a)(2): Discharge of firearm = 20 year mandatory minimum.

§775.087(2)(a)(3): Discharge causing death or great bodily harm = 25 to life mandatory minimum.

Note that each of those mandatory minimum sentences is to run consecutively with (on top of) sentencing for the underlying crime.  Thus it’s actually possible to receive a longer sentence for the “10-20-Life” portion of the offense than for the underlying offense itself.

For the whole post, click on over to Legal Insurrection.

About the Author

Andrew Branca
Andrew F. Branca is a Massachusetts lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense website (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle), and many other re-sellers. Andrew just launched his latest product, the LOSD Instructor Program, designed for gun safety, marksmanship and tactical strategy instructors. Be an elite member of the self defense community, understanding your state's self defense laws to a depth even lawyers rarely achieve. Check it out here.   Andrew also gives live, in-person, ~5 hour-long state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars all over the country. Click here to find a live seminar covering your state's self-defense laws.   Andrew also produces many 4-5 hour online, on-demand state-specific Law of Self Defense training courses. These online classes are enriched versions of the live, in-person state-specific Law of Self Defense Class Andrew gives all around the country. Click here to find an online course for your state. These online classes are priced at $249/HOUSEHOLD. You can learn more details and view the first section of the training class for free (about 30 minutes worth of self-defense law training) by clicking here.

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