Florida gun crime cases often involve charges of multiple criminal offenses. When a person is convicted of more than one offense, courts may be called on to decide if prison time should run concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (one after the other). A recent case out of Florida’s First District Court of Appeal provides some insight on the limits on consecutive sentences for cases involving gun crimes.
A defendant was charged with robbery with a firearm and attempted robbery with a firearm, stemming from an incident in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant in Pensacola. He was carrying a firearm when he allegedly approached six people and demanded money from them. He then moved toward one of the people, pointed the gun inches from the man’s head, and again demanded money. He allegedly approached each person in the group in the same manner and struck one of them with the gun, but he did not fire the weapon. He was convicted and sentenced to consecutive 10-year sentences, for a total of 20 years behind bars.
The defendant later appealed the decision, arguing that the trial court erred by sentencing him to consecutive sentences for two separate offenses that were part of the same criminal episode. The First District agreed.