Most people do not understand the legalities of a criminal offense until they face charges. To start, these crimes fall under one of two categories: felonies or misdemeanors.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a misdemeanor is punishable by no more than one year in jail. Any crime that requires a longer sentence is generally a felony.
Although the penalties for a felony tend to be more serious, all criminal charges can come with life-changing consequences. If Florida police have arrested you for DUI, domestic violence, a drug crime or another offense, then your first call should be to a criminal defense attorney.
In Florida, felony convictions can result in permanent c convictions that can haunt you for the rest of your life, cause you to lose certain rights and make it incredibly difficult to get a decent job or even into academic programs. Additionally, they can result in expensive fines time behind bars. Serious offenses, may result in long term or life prison sentences or even the death penalty in some states, including Florida.
If you are facing a criminal charge in Florida, then contact a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer from Leader & Leader, PA. Our office is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 954-523-2020.
In the meantime, read on for an overview of the four types of felonies in Florida:
- Capital Felonies
According to the Florida Statutes, capital felonies are crimes that the law may punish with life imprisonment or a death sentence. First-degree murder is the most common capital felony.
- First-Degree Felonies
A first-degree felony is more serious than second- and third-degree felonies. These offenses are often violent offense, serious drug offenses or other aggravated crimes such as a burglary/battery which is a burglary in which assault or battery is committed in the commission of the crime.
Convicted offenders may spend decades behind bars. The maximum prison sentence for a first-degree felony is 30 years.
- Second-Degree Felonies
A lot of offenses can be second degree felonies. The maximum prison sentence for a second-degree felony is 15 years. There are a number of lesser offenses that are typically third degree felonies but are enhanced to a second degree based on a weapon being used, the severity of the injury or dollar amount at issue, amongst other factors.
- Third-Degree Felonies
A third-degree felony is the least severe classification, but a conviction can still come with harsh penalties. If one is found guilty or pleas to a third-degree felony in Florida, if convicted, they may still be a convicted felon for life and are subject to up to five years in prison. You may also have to pay a fine of up to $5,000. Possession of drugs, handgun violations and grand theft are common third-degree felonies.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
Few experiences can match the stress of facing a felony charge. With so much at stake, it is critical that you consult a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
The justice system is often unpredictable, but a criminal defense attorney can help you avoid mistakes that could compromise your ability to present an effective defense. Depending on the nature of your case, there may be a defense that convinces the courts to reduce the charges or the penalties, or to dismiss the case altogether.
If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, then contact Leader & Leader, PA. Call 954-523-2020 to schedule a free initial consultation.