Rule 3.800 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedures allows for certain modifications to sentencing after an individual is convicted and sentenced. These modifications may include corrections to the sentence, or reduction in the sentence. In order to accomplish this there must be a motion to modify sentence.
Understanding Rule 3.800
An experienced criminal defense lawyer advises you on the circumstances that may justify a motion to modify your sentence. Florida follows the federal rules for modifying sentences after convictions. Your criminal defense lawyer reviews your case, and determines if you are eligible for a modification to your sentence.
Florida courts consider modifications to sentences if one or more conditions are met:
* The sentence contains an error.
* The defendant assists with a separate criminal case.
* Other circumstances, including the defendant’s age.
Errors in Sentencing
An experienced criminal defense lawyer reviews your case, and determines if there was an error in your sentencing. These errors may include mathematical, technical and other errors. Finding these types of errors requires extensive knowledge of the laws in Florida, as well as experience with reviewing court documents.
In these cases, the judge has the power to correct the errors. Florida law requires that the corrections be made within 14 days of the original sentencing. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer means that your motion is filed appropriately with the court. Additionally, your criminal defense lawyer follows up with the court during the fourteen day period to make sure that your sentence is corrected.
Helping with a Criminal Case
Cooperating with law enforcement in a separate criminal case may result in a modification to your sentence. You should, though, exercise caution when negotiating these types of deals with law enforcement. An experienced criminal defense lawyer understands the possible negative consequences of cooperating with law enforcement, and negotiating deals for reduced sentences.
Your criminal defense lawyer works on your behalf to protect your rights, and ensure that you receive the best possible modification to your sentence. An experienced criminal defense lawyer also monitors your case to ensure that the prosecution files the appropriate court documents for your sentence modification.
In most cases, sentences can be modified within the first year after the original sentence. Working within a complex court system on a short timeline can be overwhelming. By working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you can be confident that your case is being managed, and that the prosecution is filing the necessary paperwork in a timely manner.
Some situations allow prosecutors to file motions to modify sentences beyond one year.
* You help law enforcement discover new evidence.
* You provide information to law enforcement within one year of your original sentence, but law enforcement could not use the information for more than one year.
* Within one year of your sentencing, you have information that can help law enforcement, but you did not realize the information was useful until after one year. In these cases, you must notify law enforcement immediately after you realize the information is helpful in another criminal case. If you fail to do so, you may not be eligible for a modification to your original sentence.
Maintaining open communication with an experienced criminal defense lawyer while cooperating with law enforcement for another criminal case protects your rights to file a motion to modify your sentence. A criminal defense lawyer also supports you during the time that you are working with law enforcement, helping you to feel more at ease with the process.
Motion to Modify Sentence Based on Special Considerations
Florida follows federal laws for modifying sentences based on special considerations. An experienced criminal defense lawyer uses these special considerations as a basis for your motion. Special considerations include defendants who meet any of the following criteria:
* Terminally ill.
* At least 70 years old, and have served at least 30 years of their life sentences.
* Serving prison terms for criminal charges that, while the defendant is incarcerated, are assigned lower prison terms as a result of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Each of these considerations requires that specific parties file the motion to modify sentence. An experienced criminal lawyer stays in contact with the parties to follow the progress of your sentence modification.
* The Director of the Bureau of Prisons files motions to modify sentences for terminally ill defendants.
* The Director of the Bureau of Prisons files motions to modify sentences based on the age and time served.
* You or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons may file a motion to modify your sentence based on changes to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Completion of a Substance Abuse Program
The judge may include a clause in your sentence that allows for a reduced sentence if you complete a substance abuse program. Typically, these clauses are included in cases related to criminal charges involving substance or alcohol use. The modification to your sentence is not automatic after you complete the program. You must file a motion with the court to modify your sentence. An experienced criminal defense lawyer files the court documents for you, and monitors the court process while your sentence is being modified.
Filing a Motion to Modify Sentence
Florida law requires that you file a motion to modify your sentence within 60 days of the original sentencing. If you fail to meet the timeline, or do not file the appropriate documents, you may not be eligible for a modification to your sentence. An experienced criminal lawyer works with these types of cases every day, and understands the process and court system.
The motion must describe the details of your case, including the reason why you qualify for a modification to your sentence. You must describe the background of your sentencing, any actions or changes that may affect your sentencing and a formal request to the court to review your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer is well-versed in these court documents, and is able to gather the required evidence, write the motion and file the documents with the court system.