What is a scoresheet and what does it mean to you?
For all felonies after 1998, a Criminal Punishment Scoresheet must be filed with the court at the time of the plea or sentencing. If you have been charged with a felony, this is important to you because, with some narrow exceptions, if you score prison on the "scoresheet," the judge cannot sentence to another sentencing option.
Why this might be bad? This give prosecutors, often fresh out of law school, a tremendous amount of power. If a person scores prison, regardless of previous record, and the prosecutor doesn't agree to a departure sentence, your options might be to agrees to the prosecutors prison sentence or to go to trial. Presenting your mitigating factors to the judge, regardless how reasonable the judge may be, may be of no help.
Why this might be good? The purpose of the scoresheet is to add uniformity to the state sentencing. To try to ensure than your sentence is not based on the luck of the draw of what judge you are in front of. It also is meant to ensure that factors such as race, gender, and social status are not a basis for sentencing.
How does it work?
Florida Statutes section 921.0022(3) gives most crimes a ranking on a level of 1 through 10, with 10 being the most severe. The level ranking determines the amount of points on the scoresheet, which are added for each crime being sentenced to and for each crime you have previously been sentenced to.
You also can get points for your "status" which applies to people who are on some sort of criminal supervision at the time the commit the crime, for injuries to victims, and for a few other factors.
Finally, there is a mathematical calculation the Florida Legislature came up with. You take the total sentencing points, minus that by 28, and then multiple the number by .75. If the answer is more than 12, you score that many months in prison.
You can view a sentencing scoresheet manual here.
For more information on a Florida Criminal Scoresheet, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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