Florida Motion to Reduce Sentence
People convicted of criminal offenses often ask whether they can file a motion to reduce or modify the sentence. This article briefly details the procedure as outlined in Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800. This article is informational only and not intended as legal advice.
Can I file a motion to reduce or modify my sentence?It depends. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(c) allows defendants to file a motion to reduce or modify a sentence within 60 days of the judgment, or within 60 days of the appellate mandate. This means, if you did not appeal your sentence, you have only 60 days to file your motion. If you did file a direct criminal appeal, you must wait until the appeal is over, and once the appellate court issues its final order, (the mandate), you have 60 days to file your motion.
Where do I file the motion?You file 3.800(c) motions in the trial court where you were sentenced.
Why should I consider filing a 3.800(c) motion?Not all sentences can be reduced or modified. If your sentence was the bottom of the sentencing guidelines, and there were no grounds for departure, the Trial Court (in most cases) cannot reduce or modify your sentence. However, if you feel that there were facts or circumstances that should have been presented to the Trial Court, but were not presented during sentencing, you may consider filing a 3.800(c) motion. There are a wide number of circumstances that could support arguments under 3.800(c).
Can the Court deny my motion?Yes. The Court can deny your motion without a hearing. The Court has the discretion to deny your motion, and that ruling will not, (with rare exception), be disturbed on appeal.