Can Your Criminal Sentence Be Reduced or Modified?

If you have been convicted of a crime, you may be wondering what can be done to reduce, modify, or correct your sentence following a criminal conviction. In this brief article, a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm covers the circumstances in which your sentence may be modified or reduced. If you think your sentence needs to be altered in some way, consult with an experienced attorney today. 

Related: 4 Reasons Why Wrongful Convictions Occur

What Sentences Are Subject to Correction?

As a general rule, the sentences which undergo the correction process are known as illegal sentences. An illegal sentence is a sentence that results from a clerical error or has no basis in law. Examples of illegal sentences include the following:

  • A sentence imposed by a court without jurisdiction
  • A sentence in excess of what is imposed by law
  • A sentence that is ambiguous in how or when it must be served
  • A sentence that fails to comply with the judge’s oral pronouncement or a plea bargain

Related: How to Restore Rights and Status After a Criminal Conviction

What is the Procedure for Correcting a Sentence? 

Under Rule 3.800, the court may correct a sentencing error, including incorrect jail credit or an illegal sentence, at any time. The motion should identify the error with specificity and propose corrections. The response to the motion must be filed within fifteen days, admitting or contesting the error. The defendant then has the right to appeal within thirty days of rendition of any orders denying or dismissing motions. The subsequent procedure differs based on whether or not the motion is filed before appeal or pending appeal. However, motions may only be filed if the correction of the error would benefit the defendant or correct a scrivener’s error, or a minor clerical error. 

What is the Procedure for Reducing or Modifying a Sentence?

The modification of a sentence can include any of the following aspects: range of sentence, nature of the charges, severity of the sentence, and the cost of incarceration. A court may move to reduce or modify a sentence in any of the following time frames:

  • Sixty days after the imposition
  • Sixty days after receipt by the court of mandate issued by the appellate court of the judgement and/or sentence on an original appeal
  • Sixty days after receipt by the court of a certified copy of an order of the appellate court dismissing an original appeal
  • Sixty days after the highest state or federal court has been taken under authority of law

If the review is upon motion, then the trial court will have ninety days from the date of the motion’s filing to enter an order ruling on the motion. As with the correction of a sentence, this subdivision of Florida law is not applicable to cases in which the death sentence or the minimum mandatory sentence has been imposed or the trial judge has no sentencing discretion. 

For a free consultation with one of our criminal defense law attorneys in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 


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