In 1999, led by then Gov. Jeb Bush, the 10-20-Life statute was passed. It established bright line minimum mandatory sentences for defendants who used a firearm while committing a crime. Between July 1, 1999 and July 1, 2016, if you had a firearm on your person during a felony, you received 10 years; if you fired it, you received 20 years. If someone died during the commission of a felony and a firearm was used, the defendant automatically received a life sentence. Minimum mandatory sentences remove any discretion that a Judge usually has when a defendant is sentenced. In 2016, Gov. Rick Scott removed from the minimum mandatory sentence from the crime of aggravated assault. The previous statute included defendants who fired warning shots, or those that were not intended to cause any harm but to scare away a possible attacker.
- As it stands today, if you carry a firearm on your person in the commission of the listed felonies, you automatically receive at least 10 years in jail:
- If you caused great bodily harm or killed someone while committing one of the crimes above, you will serve no less than 25 years.
- The number of years is increased if a semi-automatic firearm is used. If a defendant possesses a semi-automatic firearm, it is an automatic minimum of 15 years. If one is fired, 20 years. If one kills a person, 25 years minimum.