If you’ve been charged with a felony in Florida, the first thing you want to know is “What’s going to happen to me?” That’s a good question, and it may take your attorney months or even years to answer that question accurately. But part of that answer depends on something called a “scoresheet.”
Every single judge in Florida must review a scoresheet before imposing a sentence on a felony. My family of repeat offending clients don’t ask me “What am I looking at”, they’ll ask me “What do I score on this?” that’s how important a scoresheet can be.
So, we know that a scoresheet is required for sentencing, but what is this thing?
A scoresheet is a two page document full of numbers, full of points. Every defendant in a felony courtroom has a ‘score’ on a scoresheet, that’s why you’ll hear a judge say “What does he score?” Basically, if you score too many points (over 44) the judge has little choice but to send you to prison.
The reverse is true as well, if you score too few points (under 22), it would be difficult for the judge to send you to prison. Let me break this down further.
To understand where these point totals come from, we’re going to need to work through some math equations. The math is pretty simple.
Step one: the scoresheet point system begins with the crime itself. Every crime is assigned a certain number of points so we must start there. For example, if you’re charged with burglary of a dwelling, that crime scores 56 points. Step two: here we add more points for injuries or your prior record. For every conviction you’ve had in the past, you get more points. A prior possession of cocaine, for example, will score you another couple points.
In our little example, we’re now close to 60 points, because you take the charge itself of burglary of a dwelling counting for 56 points, add a couple of points for prior convictions, and we get close to 60 points. But we’re not done yet.
Let’s say you were on probation or in diversion when you committed this crime, now you add another 4 or 6 points, and now you’re around 62 total points.
But this number, 62, doesn’t answer the question “what do I score?” There’s one more important math equation. Stay with me here. You take the 62, you subtract 28, and you multiply that number by 0.75. that gives you 25.5, and that is our final answer. We’ve arrived.
If you asked me what you score on this burglary of a dwelling, with your priors, I’d say you score a minimum of 25.5 months in prison. By minimum, I mean that the judge cannot give you a two year prison sentence. That means the judge cannot give you 24 months, you must get at least 25.5 months prison.
Now, there are exceptions to this, there are nuances on how a scoresheet can turn out, but that’s a much bigger topic than we have time to cover today. Good luck on your case, thanks for watching. Take care.