If you have been arrested for a crime—whether a misdemeanor or felony—it is likely you are anxious, frightened, unsure of your future, and how you need to handle your charges. Unlike some other problems, however, how you handle these criminal charges will have an effect on your reputation, your freedom and your future. Because the stakes are so high, it is important that you have an experienced attorney from The Law Place by your side from start to finish.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a misdemeanor charge is not all that serious. If convicted for a Florida misdemeanor, you could end up spending time in jail, paying extremely high fines, then you will end up dealing with issues such as an inability to obtain employment, rent a home, obtain a professional license, or even return to college on a government student loan.
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony Offense?
The primary distinctions between a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge in the state of Florida, lies in the severity of the crime, and therefore the penalties you will face should you be convicted of the crime. Both misdemeanor and felony charges are further divided into classes, depending on the seriousness of the crime and the potential penalties. In the state of Florida, misdemeanors are classified as first or second-degree crimes, and have the following penalties:
- A first-degree misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor crime in the state of Florida, and is governed by Florida state statutes, Section 775.082 and 775.083. Penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor conviction include: up to one year in county jail, up to one year of probation, and a fine as large as $1,000. One example of a first-degree misdemeanor crime is theft of property which has a value of less than $300, and more than $100.
- A second-degree misdemeanor is a less-serious offense in the state of Florida, governed by the two statutes above as well as Section 775.081. A conviction for a second-degree misdemeanor can result in up to 60 days in jail, 6 months probation, and a maximum fine of $500.
Misdemeanor Offenses in Florida
Misdemeanor offenses in the state of Florida are handled at the County Court level; some examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
- Driving with a suspended license
- Disorderly conduct
- Domestic violence battery
- Prostitution (first offense)
- Possession of marijuana
- Petty theft, or
- Resisting an officer (no violence involved).
If you have been charged with a Florida misdemeanor, you need to act decisively, being as proactive as possible about protecting your future. A misdemeanor conviction can bring many negative consequences into your life, including a criminal record which never goes away, housing and career difficulties, an inability to obtain a job you are otherwise well-qualified for, financial problems, time in jail, and loss of privileges you may take for granted.
Getting the Help You Need from a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are like most people, you were shocked, and probably in a state of denial following your Florida misdemeanor charges. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place will be the advocate in your corner that you desperately need during this difficult time. Our attorneys will strive to have your case dismissed, however if a dismissal is not likely, we will use our considerable negotiating skills to have your charges lowered to a less serious offense, or, after a conviction, to negotiate lower penalties with no jail time. Contact a criminal defense attorney from The Law Place today by calling 941-444-4444.