Your future is on the line. If you are facing serious criminal charges, your one goal is simple: avoid prison. I can help you.
As a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney with more than 17 years of experience, I have helped many clients avoid prison. I can fight to have your charges reduced, your case dismissed or your sentencing to be more lenient. My clients trust the legal representation they get from The Law Office of R. Lane Lastinger, P.A.
In many cases, avoiding prison terms for my clients involves downward departures. The legislature has set out a table with the ranges of possible sentences for given crimes, some of which have mandatory minimum sentences that require prison time. The only way the court can legally give you a sentence other than prison for these crimes is through a downward departure.
In a downward departure, the judge has to explain why he or she is giving a lesser sentence than the prison time mandated by law. There are a few categorical reasons for a downward departure, including:
- Youthful offender: This is one of the most common downward departures. The key to this departure is that you have to be sentenced before your 21st birthday to be considered a youthful offender (even if you were arrested before you were 21, you could still lose your youthful offender status if the sentencing comes later). The sentence range for youthful offenders is much more lenient. If you are guilty of a crime that involves “10-20-life” minimum mandatory sentencing, getting you a youthful offender downward departure could result in probation and no prison time.
- Mental illness: If you have a mental illness that is separate and distinct from any substance abuse issues, it could qualify you for a downward departure.
- Isolated incident: If you have a limited criminal record — and especially if you are a first-time offender — and you have shown some remorse, you could get a downward departure.
- Need for restitution: This is as downward departure in which the victim feels a need for restitution more than a need for incarceration. Sometimes for this departure, I will call the victim and humanize my client in an attempt to help the victim understand my client’s point of view and circumstances.
- Substantial assistance: If you cooperate with law enforcement to help them take some criminals off the street, you might be able to get a downward departure.
- Agreed upon departure: This is when the State agrees to the departure.
Contact a Clearwater Florida Downward Departures Lawyer ∙ 877-782-7151
Either call my St. Petersburg office or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation.