New Palm Beach County Criminal Program May Mean Stiffer Sentences for Felons Caught with Firearms

Florida_felon.jpgPalm Beach County criminal attorney Douglas Leifert has been following a developing story that may impact felons in this South Florida county. Since federal law has much stricter penalties on felons who are charged with possessing a firearm, a Palm Beach County state attorney has secured a federal grant that allows a state prosecutor to be sworn as an assistant United States attorney.

A decade ago, the state of Florida enacted the 10-20-Life Law, meaning that if a felon uses a gun during a crime, they get an automatic 10 years behind bars. If they fire the gun, then the sentence doubles. If they injure or kill someone, they can be sentenced to a mandatory 25 years to life. However, that law does not apply to felons who are caught with a gun or ammunition who is not committing another crime, which is why the county felt it was necessary to implement a new program. The $92,000 annual grant is renewable in six-month increments.

In Miami-Dade County, the State Attorney’s Office already has a similar program where a state prosecutor is cross-designated as an assistant United States attorney for a particular case or a set period of time. The Broward County State Attorney’s office received a $480,000 federal grant in 2002 which was aimed at combating gun violence. However, the funding ended in 2006, and the state retained to unit to focus on “highly volatile gun cases.”

Felons caught with guns could get stiffer sentences under new county program, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, July 4, 2009
If you are charged with a gun possession or other crimes, then contact a South Florida criminal defense attorney for a free initial consultation.

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