How to Apply for Modification of a Sentence in Florida

By Alice Stuart
Filing for a reduction of sentence in Florida is possible if you meet certain criteria.

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There are certain circumstances when you can file for a reduction or modification of your criminal sentence in Florida. Filing this motion is not possible if you have already received the minimum required sentence or if the judge has no discretionary role in determining the sentence. However, if you have been given something more than the minimum sentence and your judge has discretionary ability in sentencing, you have the ability to request a sentence modification.

Contact your Florida lawyer immediately following sentencing. You only have 60 days from the date the sentence is imposed to file for a reduction or modification of your sentence. If you appeal the ruling, you have 60 days from the time of the final appellate ruling to request a reduction or modification of your ruling.

File your appeal, citing the specific reasons you believe you deserve a modification or reduction in sentence. For example, in some cases you may have been given an order to serve less time if you complete a substance abuse program or similar rehabilitative program. If you have completed those terms, applying for a reduction in your sentence is reasonable.

Attend the hearing for a reduction of your appeal. Answer any questions the judge asks honestly and completely. Always be respectful to the judge and follow your lawyer's advice.

Use your knowledge of other crimes to file for a reduction of your sentence if you are outside of the 60 day limit, if possible. Florida follows the "federal rule" for sentence reduction for substantial assistance in the prosecution of crimes. If you have knowledge of other crimes that have been committed, you can request that your sentence be reduced in exchange for your information. In some cases, your sentence can be reduced below the minimum required sentence.

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