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Analyzing the Impact of Florida’s 10-20-Life Law on Weapon-Related Felonies

Analyzing the Impact of Florida’s 10-20-Life Law on Weapon-Related Felonies

Committing a crime is one thing, but committing a crime with the addition of a firearm elevates it to a new level. Even just the possession of any firearm can lead to a mandatory 10-year minimum sentencing for a first offense. The penalties increase for discharging the weapon increase to 20 years, and harming or killing someone increases the penalty to 25 years to life.

Florida’s 10-20-Life Law, Florida Statute 775.087, was passed in 1999. It was amended in 2016 to allow judges additional discretion in sentencing and to eliminate aggravated assault from the list of eligible offenses. It is still one of the country’s toughest criminal laws for felonies involving firearms.


A 2023 report on trends since the enactment of 10-20-Life shows an 83% increase in felons imprisoned under the law since 1999. Although each year shows large increases in percentages of those sentenced under 10-20-Life, the percentages dwindle through 2023. 

In FY21-22, Florida’s prison system had over 1,500 new admissions under 10-20-Life, and over 12,000 10-20-Life convictions in the general prison population. On June 30, 2022, roughly 12% of the overall prison population had a 10-20-Life sentence.

Florida Statute 944.275 requires all inmates to serve at least 85% of their sentence.

Other Trends from 10-20-Life

While Florida is a popular and safer state, The Sunshine State still has its share of crime. It is below the national average for violent crime, at 3.8 per 1,000. Overall, crime rates vary by area, with some cities being safer than others.

Because 10-20-Life is intended as a deterrent, Florida has experienced a significant decrease in violent offenses such as robberies and aggravated assaults. Longer prison terms mean that the offenders are unable to commit a crime for a longer period. Therefore, they are less likely to repeat the offense which will send them back to prison.

The law also focuses on gun-related crimes, specifically those who use illegally obtained firearms during a crime. Convictions have increased for these crimes and serve as a deterrent for those using illegally owned and possessed firearms with zero tolerance.

Impact On The Accused

The person charged under 10-20-Life faces a considerable sentence if convicted. Just conviction of one charge can mean a minimum 10-year sentence. Additional charges can increase the total jail sentence. Multiple sentences are served consecutively, one after the other.

Depending on the severity and number of charges, an accused person convicted under 10-20-Life could effectively be in prison for life with little to no chance of completing their sentence. The right criminal defense attorney can work with you to try to get reduced charges that help avoid considerable incarceration.


If you are charged with a firearm crime that can lead to a mandatory sentence of 10 years, 20 years, or 25-plus years minimum, call us immediately. The police are unconcerned with justice, only making arrests and solving cases. We believe that you should consult with a criminal defense attorney anytime you are asked to speak to the police. Say nothing to them until you speak with us. If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a crime, contact the criminal defense team of Farkas & Crowley as soon as possible. We are available 24/7, whenever you need us. Call (561)-444-9529 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.

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