Overcriminalization, and the State of Florida
Written by Moses & Rooth on March 26, 2012
Grits for breakfast is a blog about the Texas criminal just system. On March 23 they took a look at the recent Supreme Court opinion, Missouri v. Frye. The Supreme Court ruled that criminal defense lawyers are required to convey a plea offer to their client. If they do not, then this may be grounds for obtaining a new trial. I do not think that anyone has any problems with this opinion. All defense attorneys should tell their clients about all plea offers. The blogger does look at little deeper and is astonished that the criminal conduct of Frye was related to a felony driving on a suspended license, and was looking at up to four years in prison.
That’s right because Mr. Frye had previously been convicted at least two previous times for driving on a suspended license, he was looking at up to four years in prison. I know what your thinking, Missouri must be some backwards state to have a felony, and looking at up to four years for driving on a suspended license. Well guess what Floridians, not only are you too looking at felony charges for this type of conduct, but your maximum penalty is not four but FIVE YEARS in the Department of Corrections.
Clearly people should only be driving if their license is valid, but the possibility of becoming a convicted felon for this conduct seems a bit extreme. It also has no effect on deterrence. Currently 1 in 7 Floridians have a suspended license. I agree with the blogger, this is “overcriminalization run amok.”