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Differences Between Indeterminate vs. Determinate Prison Sentences

People who are sentenced to prison typically have one pressing question on their mind: when will they be released? The answer is often unclear, partly because not all courts have to give a precise answer. Whether one does depends on the court’s decision to impose a determinate or indeterminate sentence.

What Is an Indeterminate Sentence?

An indeterminate prison sentence does not have a specific duration. The precise moment the defendant will be released from custody depends on the actions of the defendant, the parole board, or other agencies involved in the case. 

The judge might announce a sentence for which could serve “up to” a certain number of years. In this instance, the judge has given you an indeterminate sentence.

What Is a Determinate Sentence?

Conversely, a determinate sentence is one where the court announces the specific length of time you will serve. For example, a court that sentences you to six years in prison has handed down a determinate sentence. 

When serving a determinate sentence, you will be released upon its expiration. No further action is needed on your part to secure your release.

Sentencing in Florida Is Determinate

In Florida, courts sentence defendants to determinate prison sentences. This sentence cannot be reduced or extended by the actions of a parole board or other agency. Of this definite number, you will serve at least 85% before being released.

Speak With Your Florida Criminal Sentencing Lawyer

Your rights are at risk whenever you go before a Florida judge for sentencing. Having an experienced and knowledgeable sentencing lawyer from Shrader, Mendez & O’Connell Attorneys at Law can help ensure you are treated fairly and in accordance with the law. 

Contact us at any time to discuss your criminal charges and sentence. You can reach us at 813-360-1529.


Posted in Criminal Defense