Many people charged with crimes are understandably concerned that they will be required to serve prison time if they are convicted. However, there are certain circumstances that may allow for mitigation of penalties. For example, if you are a young adult, you may qualify for youthful offender sanctions. In some cases, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal in which a mandatory minimum sentence is waived. Miami mitigation defense lawyer Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich represents people throughout South Florida. She enjoys working with young adults, and she takes great pride in helping them avoid or minimize the disruption caused by a criminal conviction.Mitigating Circumstances
Florida Statutes Section 921.0026 enumerates mitigating circumstances that can result in a reduction of sentence and lead to probation rather than prison being imposed. Mitigating circumstances include a plea bargain, status as an accomplice, restitution to the victim, a mental disorder that requires specialized treatment if the defendant is willing to undergo treatment, lack of capacity to fully understand the criminal nature of the actions, provocation, duress, cooperation with the government, and youthful offender status. Mitigating factors can result in a downward departure during sentencing and can also play a role during a trial.
People often get caught up in the criminal justice system due to substance dependency or mental health issues. Fortunately, a skillful attorney can make a huge difference in securing access to rehab programs to address a defendant’s alcohol or drug dependency, or treatment programs to address their mental health. Attorney Petkovich understands that getting a client into a rehab or treatment program can turn their life around. She gains great satisfaction from handling these cases, and she has recorded a long series of successful results in them.Youthful Offender Sanctions
Florida enacted the Florida Youthful Offender Act to give young adults or youthful offenders a sentencing program that is more flexible and less harsh than the sentencing scheme used in adult criminal court. The primary goal behind the Act is to help youthful offenders successfully return to society and to prevent their interaction with the more experienced criminals in prison, who might influence them to continue with crime. Youthful offenders are provided with increased counseling, educational, vocational, and public service opportunities, and they must participate in various forms of counseling. A mitigation defense attorney in Miami can help a young adult navigate this system.
There are two main ways in which you can be sentenced as a youthful offender. You can be sentenced as a youthful offender if you are 18-21 at the time of sentencing, or if you are under 18 and your case has been transferred to adult court for prosecution. You could also be sentenced through this program if you have pled nolo contendere or been found guilty of a felony, and you have not previously been classified as a youthful offender under the Act. You can be assigned to the youthful offender program even if you have not been sentenced to it by the Florida Department of Corrections. The Florida Department of Corrections can classify and assign inmates to the program who are under age 25 but were not sentenced as youthful offenders.Sentencing Options for Youthful Offenders
Florida courts have more flexibility and leniency when sentencing youthful offenders. You could face jail time, community control, or probation, or a combination of these penalties. You could be sentenced to supervision on probation or in a community control program for a maximum of six years. You could also face incarceration in a community residential facility, department probation and restitution center, or county facility for up to 364 days. Miami mitigation defense attorney Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich can help you argue for a relatively lenient sentence under your circumstances.Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Waivers
Florida imposes mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes. These are sentences over which a judge has no discretion to depart downward if you are convicted. For example, there are mandatory minimum sentences imposed for drug trafficking under Florida law. A mandatory minimum sentence may be imposed for certain felonies perpetrated with a firearm under the 10-20-Life Law.
Mandatory minimum prison sentences mandate that the accused serve day-for-day time. Therefore, when there is a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence, all 20 years must be served in prison. There will be no gain time that would allow you to spend less time in prison. The only person who can waive a mandatory minimum sentence is the state attorney. It may be possible for an experienced and skillful defense lawyer to persuade the state attorney to waive the mandatory minimum sentence as part of a negotiated plea. To obtain the waiver, we would need to investigate your situation and find the weaknesses in the government’s case. Ms. Petkovich is well positioned to investigate these weaknesses due to her experience as a former prosecutor.Consult an Experienced Criminal Lawyer
Attorney Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich has years of experience prosecuting and defending criminal cases. She can provide an aggressive and thorough strategy that is tailored to your situation. Born and raised in Miami, she represents people throughout South Florida. Call us at (305) 358-8003 or contact us via our online form for a consultation with a mitigation defense lawyer in the Miami area.