If you are found guilty of a crime, the law generally stipulates sentencing guidelines that the judge follows when he or she orders a sentence. A downward departure occurs when the judge departs from the applicable sentence and orders a lower sentence than is recommended for a particular crime. A downward departure can be utilized only in the sentencing of some types of crimes and only when mitigating factors are present. What is a Downward Departure? In Florida, the state uses a computer system to assign scores to every person who is accused of a crime. Scores are calculated using a formula that is designated in the Florida Department of Corrections Criminal Punishment Code (CPC). Each crime is assigned a level and associated numerical value. It applies to sentencing for all felonies, except for capital felonies, that were committed after October 1, 1998. A person convicted of a.