Tallahassee Resentencing Attorney
There are a number of situations where a person is tried, convicted, and sentenced for a crime, only to be later resentenced for the same offense. A resentencing often comes as the result of the convicted person’s own appeal. But it can also come when a judge admits a mistake was made and the defendant’s original sentence was illegal.
Resentencing does not necessarily mean a reduced sentence the second time around. That is why it is important to work with a qualified Tallahassee resentencing attorney who can represent you at any new hearing. At Luke Newman, P.A., we can assist you in helping to convince a court that you are entitled to a second chance–and ideally avoid the harshest penalties possible under the law.
Why Resentencing May Be Necessary
The first phase of a criminal trial determines a defendant’s guilt or innocence. If guilt is established, the next phase is a sentencing hearing. Every Florida criminal offense carries a specified minimum and maximum punishment. But the statute is only the start of the process, not the end. In determining a particular defendant’s sentence, the judge must first hold a hearing and consider a variety of evidence.
In some cases, the prosecution and the defense will have already entered into a plea agreement that may or may not include a recommended sentence. The judge still has the final say on the actual sentence, but a plea agreement will make things go much smoother. Absent an agreement, the court will ask for a Pre-Sentence Investigation into the defendant’s background. The judge will then hold a hearing and impose the final sentence.
So why would resentencing be necessary? The most common reason is that the judge’s original sentence is later set aside by a higher court, such as a Florida District Court of Appeal or the Florida Supreme Court. An appellate court may set aside a defendant’s sentence–but not their conviction–and order a new sentencing or “resentencing” hearing. This is typically because the original trial judge made an error of law in determining the defendant’s sentence. Sometimes the judge simply made an honest mistake or error. In any event, if the reviewing court decides a sentence was illegal, resentencing is the proper remedy.
Resentencing Does Not Always Mean a Lighter Sentence
Just because an appellate court orders a new sentencing hearing, that does not automatically guarantee that the defendant will serve a lighter sentence the second time around. Resentencing simply means the trial court will proceed as if the original sentencing hearing never happened. This means that it is possible the court will end up imposing an even harsher sentence than the first time the defendant appeared.
While the prospect of going through a second round of sentencing is often daunting, it is important for a defendant to take the matter seriously and put their best legal foot forward. An experienced Tallahassee resentencing lawyer can help. If you are involved in a criminal appeal or post-conviction matter and need qualified representation, contact the offices of Luke Newman, P.A., today to speak with a member of our team.