10/20/Life Statute

Gun Crime Attorneys Representing Defendants in the Tampa Bay Region

The criminal defense lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. represent people who have been charged with firearm possession and other offenses related to weapons. These charges come with potentially severe consequences, both for the person actually charged with the crime and for their loved ones. Our Tampa Bay gun crime lawyers are former state prosecutors who know how to build thorough defenses for the people whom we represent. We are committed to fighting the prosecution at every step of the way in 10/20/Life Statute cases, and we know how to guide clients through the criminal justice process with vigor and experience.

Florida law imposes strict penalties for weapons offenses. These include heavy fines and potentially long stretches behind bars for a person convicted of a felony. A conviction also often comes with a significant social stigma. A criminal record can make it difficult to find and keep a job.

How the 10/20/Life Statute Works

Florida's "10/20/Life" Statute creates enhanced penalties for violent crimes that involve the use or attempted use of a firearm. The penalties are mandatory minimums, meaning that a person convicted under the law cannot get out of prison early or negotiate a lesser penalty. A person who produces a gun while committing a felony faces a minimum of 10 years behind bars. This is true even if it is a first-time offense. If you fire the gun, you are looking at a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. The punishment jumps to 25 years to life in prison for crimes in which a person shoots someone else while committing a felony. This is not to mention the substantial monetary penalties that often come with a conviction.

Defenses in Gun Cases

State and federal laws provide a number of possible defenses for anyone accused of a crime, including those that implicate the 10/20/Life law. It is important to keep in mind that the burden of proof is at all times on cops and prosecutors. They need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the specific crime with which you have been charged and that the crime qualifies for the 10/20/Life penalties. For example, if you were protecting yourself during the acts in question, self-defense may apply.

Evidence rules often play a big role in criminal cases. Police officers generally must have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe that a crime is being committed or has been committed in order to stop you on the street or pull over your car. They usually need to have “probable cause” in order to search your car or enter your home without a warrant. If police officers neglect to play by these rules, any evidence that they obtain is likely to be excluded from the case against you.

10/20/Life cases often feature a dispute over how, if at all, a gun was used during the crime. An experienced criminal lawyer might challenge witness recollections, police reports, and other evidence, depending on the situation. If the crime is not charged as a felony, if the defendant is acquitted or found not guilty, or if the defendant is found not to have used a gun during the crime, they cannot be subjected to the enhanced penalties under the 10/20/Life Statute.

Talk to an Experienced Tampa Bay Lawyer When Facing a Weapons Charge

At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we are committed to giving clients a strong defense in each and every case. Our attorneys understand how cops and prosecutors often approach 10/20/Life cases, and we know what judges and juries typically find compelling when considering the evidence. We also work tirelessly to resolve cases through negotiation before trial when this is feasible and appropriate. Our firm has a strong track record of optimal results in gun crime and other cases. We represent people in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and other cities in the Tampa Bay region. Call us at (727) 286-6141 or contact us online to make an appointment to discuss your case with an attorney who can help you fight state or federal charges.

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