Crimes in Florida tend to be either felonies or misdemeanors. Convictions for a felony or a misdemeanor carry penalties ranging from fines to jail time to probation and other repercussions, depending on the degree and the specific nature of the offense. Very minor offenses, like traffic violations, are usually infractions that only come with a small fine.
Whether the charge you are facing is a felony or a misdemeanor, though, the stakes are high enough to warrant the help of a criminal defense lawyer like John V. Moore.
MISDEMEANORS IN FLORIDA
Misdemeanors include any criminal offense whose conviction carries less than a year in jail. Once a potential jail sentence goes over a year, the offense becomes a felony.
Misdemeanors are further classified into two degrees: First-degree misdemeanors and second-degree misdemeanors.
A first-degree misdemeanor is the more severe of the two. A conviction for any crime that is labeled as a first-degree misdemeanor can come with up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Examples of first degree misdemeanors include:
- Disorderly conduct
- Reckless driving
- Certain incidents of driving under the influence (DUI)
A second-degree misdemeanor is the least severe type of criminal accusation that you can face in the state of Florida. However, a conviction still comes with up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 – enough to seriously alter the course of your life. Examples of second-degree misdemeanors include:
- A first offense of petty theft
Additionally, any misdemeanor offense that does not mention a degree in the statute is a second-degree misdemeanor.
Felonies in Florida are any criminal offense whose conviction carries a year or more in jail, making them far more severe than misdemeanors. Additionally, all felony convictions put a huge blemish on your criminal background, which can cause numerous collateral consequences of a conviction that can drastically alter the course of your life, post-conviction.
Unlike misdemeanors, felonies come in three degrees, plus capital felonies.
A capital felony offense is the most severe criminal charge you can face because one of the possible repercussions of a conviction is the death penalty or life in prison with no parole. Convictions also come with a fine of up to $15,000.
Offenses that can be charged as a capital felony include murder and sexual battery, also known as rape.
First-degree felonies are the second-most severe criminal allegation you can be charged with. They include:
- Drug trafficking
- Aggravated robbery
- Aggravated battery against a police officer
Convictions for these kinds of offenses come with up to 30 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
SECOND DEGREE FELONIES
A second-degree felony carries up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Examples of felonies in the second degree include:
- DUI manslaughter
- Aggravated battery
Finally, third-degree felonies are the least severe of the felony charges. However, they are still more severe than any misdemeanor charge in Florida. Convictions come with up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Common examples include:
- Child abuse
- Grand theft
- Felony battery
- Drug possession
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY JOHN V. MOORE SERVES FLORIDA
If you have been accused of a crime, whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor, you need strong legal representation to invoke and protect your rights. Criminal defense lawyer John V. Moore can provide that help. Contact him online or call his law office at (321) 426-0209 today to start planning your defense strategy.