Every crime has a punishment associated with it should a person be convicted of committing that crime. In many cases, criminal court judges can use their discretion during the sentencing process and choose punishments that best fit the offenders. In others, however, they are required to hand down certain sentences thanks to mandatory minimum laws. Unfortunately, Florida does have such laws in place, and numerous individuals have ended up being punished in ways that do not necessarily fit their actions because of these statutes.
Mandatory minimum laws came about as a deterrent of sorts. The hope is that fewer people will commit certain crimes if they know they could end up spending years, if not the rest of their lives, behind bars. These laws are also meant to:
- Provide closure for victim’s and their families
- Rehabilitate offenders
- Act as retribution
The problem is that many believe mandatory sentencing is not accomplishing all of these things. Instead, it is causing people and their families to suffer needlessly. Lighter punishments would suffice in numerous cases. As such, opponents of these laws are working hard to have them abolished.
It is unclear if mandatory minimum laws will ever go away, in part or entirely. For now, Florida residents who find themselves charged with crimes that carry mandatory minimum sentences would be wise to seek help fighting the charges against them as soon as possible. With the assistance of legal counsel, certain steps may be taken to help one achieve a change or reduction in charges, if not a case dismissal, which would allow one to avoid mandatory minimums. The sooner one takes action to address the charges against them, the better.