Florida law affords individuals convicted of crimes certain rights with regards to sentencing. For example, certain sentences must be orally pronounced, and with few exceptions, a defendant has the right to be present at his or her sentencing hearing.
As the District Court of Appeal for the Second District of Florida recently held in Darwin v. Florida, if the trial court imposes a sentence without the presence of the convicted party, it can result in the sentence being reversed. If you were charged with a sex-crime in Clearwater, it is important to retain an experienced Clearwater sex crimes attorney who will fight diligently to protect your liberties.
Allegedly, the defendant was convicted and sentenced for uninformed HIV-infected sexual intercourse. His sentence included a $525 discretionary fine. During the sentencing hearing, the fine was not orally pronounced; therefore, the defendant filed a motion to correct the sentence, arguing that the fine was improperly imposed due to the fact that Florida law requires discretionary fines to be orally pronounced to ensure due process. The trial court agreed and scheduled a status conference during which the court orally pronounced the fine, but made no other changes to the sentence. The defendant was not present at the status conference. He subsequently appealed the discretionary fine, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing the sentence without his presence at the hearing. The court agreed and reversed.