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. 

Call now for your free consultation or to schedule an appointment. (407) 748-1567
Felonies, Misdemeanor, Traffic
I am a former state prosecutor who has extensive experience on both sides of the courtroom. I will fight to protect your legal rights and resolve the criminal matter in the most favorable manner possible given your specific situation. This will vary for each client and may include:

  • Negotiating to have the charges dropped or dismissed
  • Negotiating to have the charges reduced
  • Negotiating for a pretrial diversion program
  • Negotiating for probation in lieu of jail or prison
  • Proceeding toward trial when all other options have been exhausted​
​When charged with a crime, or when assisting a family member or loved one charged with a crime, it is normal to feel scared and uncertain. This may be your first experience not just with the criminal justice system but with any type of legal matter. I recognize that emotions can run high. I will respond with a steadfast determination to secure favorable results while keeping you informed and educated about the process.


Possible Resolutions:
    1. Diversion Programs:
​        a. Pretrial Diversion
        b. Pretrial Intervention 
        c. Drug Court
​     2. Plea Negotiations
     3. Litigation
         a. Motion to Dismiss
         b. Motion to Suppress
     4. Trial


Possible Defenses: 
Pretrial defenses:
Pretrial defenses are raised prior to trial and are used to challenge the legality of how the evidence against you was obtained and the sufficiency of the evidence used to charge you with a crime.

The most common Pretrial Defenses are:

  • Illegal Search and Seizure
  • Self Defense
  • Speedy Trial Violation
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Warrantless Stop/Search
Trial Defenses
Trial defenses are raised during the actual trial and either:

  1. Raise an Affirmative Defense to a Crime; or
  2. Challenge the Sufficiency of the Evidence​

Affirmative Defense
Under certain circumstances, Florida law allows a person to raise an Affirmative Defense, which does not deny that an offense occurred, but that the conduct was legally justified. The most common affirmative defenses are: (a) Alibi, (b) Duress, (c) Entrapment, (d) Insanity, (e) Necessity, and (e) Self Defense. When an Affirmative Defense is raised, the defendant must present some evidence to support the defense. If such evidence is presented, the burden shift back to the State to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense is not applicable.

Insufficient Evidence

The most common trial defense is that a case cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And not only must the prosecutor prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, each element of the crime charged must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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(321) 314-2828

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Orlando Criminal Defense, Civil Litigation, Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers. Handling cases in Orange County and surrounding areas