Florida Court Discusses Sentence Modifications

If a person is convicted of a sex crime, their rights may be impacted long after any penalties imposed for the crime are served. For example, sex offenders are often prohibited from entering certain areas where children are present and, in some cases, may be barred from having contact with children altogether. In a recent case decided by the District Court of Appeals of Florida, Fourth District, the court analyzed a court’s jurisdiction to modify the terms of restrictions of probation imposed on a person convicted of a sex crime. If you are a resident of St. Petersburg faced with charges of a sex crime, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted St. Petersburg sex crime attorney regarding your rights.

Facts Regarding the Underlying Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with over thirty counts of controlling, possessing, or intentionally viewing photographs depicting sexual conduct involving a child. The defendant pleaded guilty to three of the counts, and the State agreed not to prosecute the remaining counts. The defendant was then sentenced to a term of imprisonment for eighteen months, to be followed by ten years of supervised sex offender probation. One of the conditions of the defendant’s probation was that he was barred from having any unsupervised contact with a child under the age of eighteen.

Allegedly, in 2018, over a year after the probationary sentence was imposed, the defendant filed a motion asking the court to clarify the condition regarding unsupervised contact with a child. Essentially, the defendant’s motion asked the court to remove the condition as a term of his probation so that he could reside with his wife and two minor children following his release from prison. The court held a hearing, after which it granted the defendant’s motion. The State appealed.

A Court’s Jurisdiction to Modify a Sentence

Under the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, a court is permitted to modify or reduce a sentence it imposed within sixty days after the sentence is imposed. The court may modify the sentence on its own volition or pursuant to a motion filed by the defendant. Courts are not permitted to modify sentences once the sixty-day time period has elapsed, however. In the subject case, the defendant did not seek a modification of his sentence until more than a year had passed since the sentence was imposed. Thus, the court lacked jurisdiction to modify the sentence, and the court’s order was improper. As such, the court reinstated the original sentence.

Consult a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney

A conviction for a sex crime can impair your rights for the rest of your life. If you are faced with charges of a sex crime, it is wise to meet with a trusted St. Petersburg sex crime attorney regarding your charges and your potential defenses. The zealous criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are proficient at helping people protect their rights in criminal matters, and if you hire us, we will aggressively advocate on your behalf. You can contact Hanlon Law through the online form or at 727-897-5413 to schedule a meeting regarding your charges.

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