Reasons for Downward Departure In Florida

In State v. Sachs, 526 So. 2d 48 (Fla. 1988), the defendant pleaded guilty to two charges of DUI manslaughter and was sentenced to four years of community control, which was a downward departure from the guidelines recommendation. See id. at 49. The trial court gave five reasons for the downward departure, including that the defendant would continue to suffer a great deal of remorse and shame. This Court affirmed the reasons relied on by the trial court where they were supported by clear and convincing proof. See id. at 51. The State now argues that when this Court considered the reasons for departure in Sachs, it was looking at the possible lack of moral culpability in an otherwise strict liability criminal statute, not the "unsophisticated manner" in which the crime was committed. However, by relying on Sachs, the Second District merely intended to show that this Court previously found the same reasons for departure valid in a case involving a DUI offense, even before the reasons were codified as a mitigator in the Florida Statutes.