How Florida’s Criminal Punishment Scoring System Works
In this blog, we have published a wealth of information about Florida criminal offenses, what a prosecutor needs to prove to obtain a conviction, and the punishment an offender may face. Our content mainly presents hypotheticals on the criminal sanctions that may be included in your sentence, because penalties widely vary depending on the circumstances. Every criminal case is unique. You should consult with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to get a more definite range of the imprisonment, fines, probation, and other punishments that apply in your case. However, judges cannot rely on a range when determining your sentence. They need solid guidelines, so the application of criminal sentencing laws is fair and consistent.
As such, they use the Florida Criminal Punishment Code (CPC), prepared by the Florida Department of Corrections and Office of the State Courts Administrator. An overview of the CPC may be useful.
Summary of the CPC System
The CPC is essentially a scorecard that courts use to determine the minimum sentence for felony crimes, starting with the Florida Offense Level Severity Chart. Every felony offense is given a number between Level 1 and Level 10, from least to most serious. For example:
- Level 1 crimes include counterfeiting lottery tickets, owning a still to manufacture alcohol, and possession of lower amounts of marijuana;
- At the middle, Level 5 offenses may be hit and run with injuries, carrying a concealed firearm without a license, and cocaine trafficking; and,
- The most serious crimes at Level 10 include homicide, sexual offenses against a child under the age of 13, and treason.
Points for Criminal Offenses
Within the CPC, each offense Level from 1 to 10 carries a point value. The judge adds together the points for every crime on which you were convicted. If the points add up to 44 or more, you will be incarcerated for some period of time. You may qualify for probation, community service, or other alternatives to prison if you score less than 44 points. Other considerations with the points system include:
- Primary Offenses Versus Additional Offenses: If you are convicted on multiple charges, the judge will identify the one with the highest offense level; all others are designated as Additional Offenses. Both categories are assigned a point value, but the amount is lower for Additional Offenses as compared to Primary.
- Your Prior Record: If you have a criminal history, you will also accumulate points in the CPC. Again, this amount will be lower than the Primary Offense.
- Other Factors: The CPC also assigns points in the event that a victim was injured, or in the presence of weapons enhancements or other aggravating circumstances.
These values are added up on the CPC scorecard to come up with a final value, which will be plugged into the sentencing system. The court applies a multiplier to the points total, which represents the number of months incarceration.
Discuss Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code with a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer
While this overview of the CPC may be helpful, the actual process and application in your specific case will likely be much more complicated. To hear more about your potential penalties in a criminal case and options to defend the charges, please contact Fort Lauderdale, FL Attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a free consultation.