What Are The Levels Of Misdemeanors Or Felony Charges?
In Florida, there are different levels of misdemeanors and felony charges.
Misdemeanors are prosecuted in county court. Misdemeanor penalties generally are confined to the imposition of county jail, fines or probation.
Second degree misdemeanors are the lowest level of misdemeanor criminal offense. This is a crime for which the punishment is be up to 60 days in county jail, a $500 fine, or both.
A first degree misdemeanor is more serious, but still remains in the county court. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in the county jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. Misdemeanors also include first and second DUI offenses, and possibly even a third DUI offense, depending on the timeframe involved. Although in such instances a DUI is considered a misdemeanor, there are additional mandatory sentencing requirements for DUI convictions that may include ignition interlock, impoundment, community service,.
Felony crimes are more serious offenses. They are prosecuted in the circuit court. Felonies also are classified by degree. The “entry level” felony is a felony third degree. Such a felony is punishable by up to 5 years in the Department of Corrections, i.e., state prison, a fine of $5,000, or both.
Second degree felonies are the next level higher in seriousness. These felonies are punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years, a $10,000 fine or both. First degree felonies have a maximum thirty year prison sentence and $15,000.00 fine, or both. However, some serious offenses defined by statute as being first degree felonies carry penalties of up to life imprisonment. An offense carrying this type of penalty commonly is known as a “first PBL.” Also, many drug charges have mandatory fines that are much greater than standard fines, and a number of drug offenses also carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.
Finally there are capital charges, such as capital sexual battery and murder, which are “life felonies,” meaning life imprisonment upon a conviction. Capital murder can lead to death penalty sentencing.
People Are Generally Upset About Being Arrested And Prosecuted For A Crime
I have learned that every individual is the sum total of their life experiences. Different people react differently to being charged with a crime. I have seen individuals cry and go into hysterics, but I also have seen individuals become calm or have their eyes glaze over stunned, like a deer caught in the headlights.
Different individuals tend to react differently. Just because someone exhibits one type of behavior versus another does not necessarily mean they committed the crime they are accused of. Individuals can run the whole gamut of emotions during an arrest and prosecution. The thought of having an individual’s freedom curtailed, the risk of jail or prison, loss of job, money, and family can be a very trying and troubling experience.
People deal with stress in different ways. There is no certain way to determine how a person will react when arrested.
Some Misconceptions About Being Arrested For A Crime
The most common misconception as a suspect is thinking that if I simply tell my side of the story to the cops or the prosecutor, then everyone will agree that I have been wrongly accused and I will have my charge dismissed and be free to go about my life.
This thought especially inhabits the minds of individuals who have never been involved in the criminal justice system. In other areas of their lives, they always have been treated as credible individuals. Their community and the organizations to which they belong have always believed them to be truthful in things they say.
This is why some who have been accused of a crime simply believe that if they just tell law enforcement or the prosecutor what actually happened, they will see their case just disappear. Unfortunately, this is so many times the farthest thing from the truth of what is happening, but unfortunately one of the largest misconceptions people have about the process.
Another misconception occurs on a practical level. Some think that that hiring a private attorney magically causes the State Attorney to offer a better plea offer or even an outright dismissal, simply because a private attorney has been paid money to represent them. While such results may occur, it is usually the result of the private attorney diligently pursuing every lead and working hard for such an outcome.
Attorney Shafer says that most people hire him because they know or have heard that he is an attorney who will work tirelessly for his clients to gain the best possible results. He invites people to come into his office and look around. They will not see a crystal ball that magically alters a case’s direction, but rather an attorney driven by hard work and dedication to providing the best defense for every client.
Other Important Information Regarding General Criminal Defense Cases
It is always be better to have an attorney than not. When someone is undergoing the stress and burden of a criminal case, they need a representative who has a clear mind and can go to battle on their behalf.
At the end of the day, an attorney will be able to give their client the best advice about the course of action best to be taken. Certainly in criminal work, it is be better to have someone in the defendant’s corner fighting hard for them, giving their client objective information about of the evidence and how best to meet challenges.
For more information on Different Levels Of Misdemeanor And Felony Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Regardless of whether you or a loved one has been arrested in Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Okeechobee, or any area within Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee or Indian River counties, attorney T. Charles Shafer is here to provide aggressive, hard working representation.
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