In the state of Florida, criminal actions are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. The essential differences between the two concern the length of incarceration and the place of incarceration. Those who are convicted of a felony generally receive a longer sentence and are incarcerated in a state penitentiary while misdemeanor offenses are generally served in a county jail for usually up to one year.
Florida felonies are categorized as capital felonies, life felonies, 1st degree felonies, 2nd degree felonies, and 3rd degree felonies.
Capital felonies are the most serious offenses and may be punishable by death or life imprisonment. These felonies may include murder, capital drug trafficking, armed kidnapping, and felonies which include death or a particularly serious sexual offense.
Life felonies are just what you might suspect-a sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of fines assessed as well.
While capital and life felonies are the most serious offenses, the 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree can be heightened or lessened depending upon the factors and circumstances surrounding the particular case. These decisions are usually made by the attorney prosecuting the case, the district attorney.
A listing of felony offenses may be found in the Florida Statutes Title XLVI, Chapters 775-896.
Regardless of the class of felony, if you’ve been charged with a felony it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. In Florida, felony convictions receive strict sentences and even harsher consequences once you have served incarceration time. If convicted of a felony, you lose your right to vote, may find it difficult to find a job or credit to buy a car or find adequate housing.
Felony convictions in Florida are a serious matter that can alter your life permanently. In certain circumstances and in certain cases, felony charges can be reduced to misdemeanors with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer.