Criminal charges are divided into two types: felonies and misdemeanors. Like every state, Florida has its own unique classifications and definition to determine what crimes are felonies or misdemeanors. It is important to understand the differences between misdemeanors and felonies, as it could mean the difference between a simple fine and serious jail time.
A misdemeanor is generally a less serious, non-violent crime and will only carry a one year jail sentence or less. In most cases, those convicted of a misdemeanor will see no jail time, but instead pay fines or agree to probation. Some common misdemeanors in Florida include:
- Public Intoxication
Misdemeanors are charged in county court in Florida, so it is important to hire a local, experienced attorney familiar with the county courts to handle your case.
A felony is a much more serious crime which can lead to severe punishments. They are generally violent crimes, but even non-violent offenders can face felony charges. Being charged with a felony could potentially take away your right to vote, own a gun or even gain employment. Some common examples of felonies in Florida include:
- White collar crimes
The punishment for felonies varies with the severity of the crime. In Florida, there are three different degrees of felonies, each with varying punishments.
- Felonies of the Third Degree: This is the least serious felony however it can still result in up to five years of jail time and $5,000 in fines.
- Felonies of the Second Degree: A second degree felony conviction can lead to up to 15 years of prison time and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Felonies of the First Degree: The most serious felony, a first degree charge can lead to 30 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Why Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney
Every situation surrounding a criminal case is different, so it is important to have someone on your side experienced in defending both misdemeanors and felonies. An experienced defense attorney will provide the legal assistance and guidance you need to prove your innocence. As a former prosecutor, Rohom Khonsari understands the intricacies involved with defending a criminal case. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call the skilled lawyers at KLG today.