What is the difference between a misdemeanor and felony?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Criminal offenses in Florida are generally divided into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. While misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, a conviction of any kind can result in severe consequences. An attorney specializing in criminal defense law can help you defend against the criminal charges you are facing to avoid some or all consequences.

What crimes are classified as misdemeanors?

In Florida, misdemeanors are classified as first-degree and second-degree offenses. Generally, first-degree misdemeanors are more serious than second-degree offenses and result in more serious consequences. These consequences are as follows:

  • First-degree: Up to one year in jail
  • Second-degree: Up to 60 days in jail

Some examples of misdemeanor crimes in Florida include:

  • First-degree: Battery, driving under the influence, marijuana possession (less than 20 grams), vandalism
  • Second-degree: Simple assault, petit theft (theft of less than $100), driving on suspend license, trespassing

What crimes are classified as felonies?

Florida felonies are classified into five categories: life, capital, first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, with life being the most serious and third degree being the least serious. The consequences for each category are as follows:

  • Life: Life in prison without parole, or life on probation, and $15,000 fine.
  • Capital: Death or life in prison without parole.
  • First-degree: Up to 30 years in prison, 30 years probation, and $10,000 fine.
  • Second-degree: Up to 15 years in prison, 15 years probation, and $10,000 fine.
  • Third-degree: Up to five years in prison, five years probation, and $5,000 fine.

Some examples of felonies include:

  • Life or capital: Murder, sexual battery, robbery with firearm
  • First-degree: Aggravated battery, drug trafficking, carjacking
  • Second-degree: DUI manslaughter, burglary of dwelling, possession of firearm by felon
  • Third-degree: Bribery, aggravated stalking, child neglect, possession of controlled substance

If you are facing criminal charges, it can be beneficial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will review the charges and come up with an effective defense strategy to benefit you in court.