Pursuant to Florida law, courts can impose greater penalties on people who are convicted of crimes if they were previously incarcerated. Only certain offenses allow for the imposition of increased sentences, though, and if a court improperly interprets the sentencing laws, the sentence imposed may be illegal. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the appellate court reversed a trial court ruling denying a defendant’s motion for resentencing. If you are charged with a crime, it is important to understand what sentences you may face if convicted, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Tampa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Procedural History of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant was charged with and convicted of numerous crimes, including burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault. After the trial court imposed its sentence, the defendant moved to amend it, arguing that it was illegal in that he was improperly sentenced as a prison releasee reoffender in violation of Florida law. The trial court denied his motion, after which the defendant appealed. The appellate court summarily affirmed the trial court’s decision, and the defendant moved for a rehearing.
Florida’s Prison Releasee Reoffender Law
Following a hearing, the District Court of Appeal ruled that the defendant’s position was correct, and his conviction for burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault was not a predicate offense under the prison releasee reoffender law. The court elaborated that burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault was not one of the enumerated crimes under the prison releasee reoffender la, and that prior Florida rulings had expressly held that the offense did not qualify as a predicate crime under the catchall provision of the statute.
Additionally, as the court explained, when a defendant is convicted of burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault and receives an illegal sentence as a prison releasee reoffender, they are entitled to a new sentence. Prison releasee reoffenders are people who commit or attempt to commit certain crimes within three years of their release from a state or federal detention center.
Based on the foregoing, the court found that the trial court improperly sentenced the defendant. Thus, it reversed his sentence and remanded for resentencing as to the burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault count only.
Contact a Capable Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tampa
While the state has to prove a criminal defendant’s guilt for each crime they are charged with irrespective of their criminal history, prior convictions may increase the penalties imposed if a defendant is convicted. If you are charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to formulate a plan for protecting your rights. The capable Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law possess the skills and resources needed to help you seek a good outcome, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach Hanlon Law through the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a conference.