Friday, July 06, 2012


Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys are often asked, "How much jail time is the Judge going to sentence me to?"
A few days ago I received this email from a reader:

I was recently charged with Grand Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property. I did commit the crimes and I know it was very stupid of me to do so. Times were very rough at the time of the offence and I thought it was the easiest way for me to support my family but I know it was not right. I've never been in trouble before and am very scarred I'll be taken away from my my wife and 1yr old son. Like I said I know I was wrong but cannot afford to lose my family. I know every case is different , but realisticly what might be the chances of getting this resolved without jail time? Thank you for your time.

Clearwater Defense Attorney Robert Hambrick will defend  man from getting jail for Grand Theft, Dealing in Stolen Property  in Largo, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Florida
Original Poster for the Victor Hugo Book
First, it's probably a good idea not to confess to any crime even with an anonymous email. But to answer the letter writer's question as to what is a Tampa Bay Judge likely to do if he does plead guilty, one must look to the Florida Sentencing Guidelines which will determine where a Defendant's guideline range lies on a Florida Sentencing Scoresheet. For a thorough discussion of this see, How Guidelines and Scoresheets Determine Your Sentence in Pinellas and Tampa Bay Florida Courts. The charged offenses, the defendant's prior record, aggravating and mitigating factors all come into play.
The anonymous author states that he's never been in trouble, so let's assume there are no prior convictions. Nor does the writer mention how much was the value of what was stolen in the Grand Theft allegation. Valuation can drive up the degree and severity of the charged offense. But The Dealing in Stolen Property charge is a second degree felony and will propel the scoresheet into a state prison time recommendation from the prosecutor for the judge. Yet ultimately what we want are judges not prosecutors making these decisions, with Tampa Bay Judges having the discretion to do what is right, to make decisions in Court that won't destroy people's lives needlessly. 
One hopes we've come a long way from Victor Hugo's description of 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. The goal of a Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer is to determine if the charges can be reduced to lessor offenses, if so there's a very good chance there'd be no prison time; if not to find the best possible arguments, facts and to tell the judge about your life and your family obligations, why the crime happened and why you will never be in front of the Judge again to support a sentence that does not include prison.