The past few days, hours, and minutes have certainly been a whirlwind if you or someone you love has been arrested on felony charges. You’re understandably terrified of what the future holds, and you probably have more questions than answers. Take a few deep breaths; you’re in the right place. 

One of the first things you need to know about felony charges is that the prosecution is required to fill out what’s called a scoresheet. This lengthy form takes into account factors related to a particular felony and produces a numeral score that will aid the prosecution in the sentencing phase. We have provided a broad overview of the scoresheet below so you will understand what to expect when it comes to possible prison or jail time. 

Primary Offense

The first section on your felony scoresheet that will net you points is the one in which you describe your primary criminal offense. Here, you will give information about the most serious charge you’re facing. If you are only being charged with one felony, this section will detail your only charge. You will accrue more points for more severe offenses; each felony is given a specific level that denotes the amount of points you will receive. 

Additional Offenses

This section will only be on the scoresheet if you’re facing multiple felony charges. The good news for you is that, generally, any crime listed in this section is worth fewer points than it would if it were your primary offense. For instance, possession of a controlled substance is worth 16 points in the primary offense section. In the Additional Offenses section, though, it is only worth 2.4 points. 

Victim Injury

Another major section of the scoresheet is dedicated to the death of or any physical injuries to victims as a direct result of your alleged crimes. As with the previous sections, the more serious the physical harm, the more points you’ll receive. 

Other Sections

The scoresheet is several pages long. This leaves plenty of room for other relevant information. For instance, the prosecution will want to know your prior record and whether or not you were subject to a community sanction (like probation or house arrest). There are numerous elements that go into completing a scoresheet, and each one will affect how much prison or jail time the prosecution will seek in your case. 

Thresholds for Jail and Prison

As we’ve established, the lower the score, the better. If you have accrued 22 points or less, you will avoid prison time, as the court must sentence a nonstate prison sanction. The judge has discretion on sending individuals to prison if they score between 22 and 44 points. If you or a loved one score more than 44 points, though, you will be at the mercy of a formula that decides how long you will go to prison. It’s important to find out if any mandatory minimum sentences apply to your case. 

An Experienced Attorney Can Help

Your scoresheet goes a long way toward determining your sentence, but prosecutors occasionally make significant errors when filling in these scoresheets. What points they do give you must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court, as well. So, if you’re feeling helpless, know that there are countless ways a quality criminal defense attorney can help in your case. 

Our firm is focused on understanding the unique needs of our clients, quickly coming up with a game plan, and executing that plan to perfection. We understand exactly what you’re going through, and we would be honored to help. However, you have no time to waste. Get started on your defense by filling out an intake form on our website today.

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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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