Under Florida law, the courts have discretion with regard to sentencing people convicted of crimes. Their discretion is not boundless, however, as in some cases, they are bound by statutory limitations. If a court issues a sentence that fails to abide by a directive in a sentencing statute, the sentence may be deemed illegal, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the defendant appealed the penalties imposed on him following a DUI conviction. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it would benefit you to meet with a St. Petersburg DUI defense attorney to assess what measures you can take to protect your rights.
Procedural Background of the Case
It is reported that the State charged the defendant with a DUI offense. He subsequently agreed to plead nolo contendere to reckless driving as part of a plea deal. The trial court subsequently placed him on probation for twelve months. The defendant appealed, arguing that his sentence was illegal.
Sentencing for Misdemeanor Crimes
On appeal, the court agreed with the defendant’s argument that his sentence was illegal. In doing so, it explained that a first-time reckless driving offense is a misdemeanor, as it is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of ninety days. Further, the Florida Statutes state that a defendant placed on probation following a misdemeanor conviction should be supervised for a maximum of six months. As such, the trial court’s order of one year of probation was illegal. Continue Reading ›