2021 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XLVI CRIMES
Chapter 775 GENERAL PENALTIES; REGISTRATION OF CRIMINALS
SECTION 021Rules of construction.
775.021 Rules of construction.—
(1) The provisions of this code and offenses defined by other statutes shall be strictly construed; when the language is susceptible of differing constructions, it shall be construed most favorably to the accused.
(2) The provisions of this chapter are applicable to offenses defined by other statutes, unless the code otherwise provides.
(3) This section does not affect the power of a court to punish for contempt or to employ any sanction authorized by law for the enforcement of an order or a civil judgment or decree.
(4)(a) Whoever, in the course of one criminal transaction or episode, commits an act or acts which constitute one or more separate criminal offenses, upon conviction and adjudication of guilt, shall be sentenced separately for each criminal offense; and the sentencing judge may order the sentences to be served concurrently or consecutively. For the purposes of this subsection, offenses are separate if each offense requires proof of an element that the other does not, without regard to the accusatory pleading or the proof adduced at trial.
(b) The intent of the Legislature is to convict and sentence for each criminal offense committed in the course of one criminal episode or transaction and not to allow the principle of lenity as set forth in subsection (1) to determine legislative intent. Exceptions to this rule of construction are:
1. Offenses which require identical elements of proof.
2. Offenses which are degrees of the same offense as provided by statute.
3. Offenses which are lesser offenses the statutory elements of which are subsumed by the greater offense.
(5) Whoever commits an act that violates a provision of this code or commits a criminal offense defined by another statute and thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury to, an unborn child commits a separate offense if the provision or statute does not otherwise specifically provide a separate offense for such death or injury to an unborn child.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the punishment for a separate offense under this subsection is the same as the punishment provided under this code or other statute for that conduct had the injury or death occurred to the mother of the unborn child.
(b) An offense under this subsection does not require proof that the person engaging in the conduct:
1. Had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying offense was pregnant; or
2. Intended to cause the death of, or bodily injury to, the unborn child.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty may not be imposed for an offense under this subsection.
(d) This subsection does not permit the prosecution:
1. Of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;
2. Of a person for providing medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
3. Of a woman with respect to her unborn child.
(e) As used in this subsection, the term “unborn child” means a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.
History.—s. 3, ch. 74-383; s. 1, ch. 76-66; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 83-156; s. 7, ch. 88-131; s. 2, ch. 2014-194.