When you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, it may be convenient or comforting to think “at least it’s not a felony.” Yet, misdemeanors are still criminal charges which may affect your present and future ability to maintain employment, seek future employment, seek or hold a valid Florida driver’s license, or possess a firearm. In other words, misdemeanor criminal charges are serious.
In Florida, misdemeanors may be 1st or 2nd degree criminal offenses. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in the county jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to only sixty days in the county jail and up to a $500.00 fine. Serving jail time even in a county facility is not on anyone’s bucket list.
Examples of misdemeanors our law firm has handled in Pinellas County include petit theft, battery, domestic violence battery, DUI, prowling or loitering, and resisting a police officer without violence.
In these cases, there are possible remedies to these charges apart from the adjudication of innocence or guilt. In Pinellas County, there are pre-trial intervention programs available for first-time offenses as well as negotiations for a withhold of adjudication. If a withhold of adjudication is accepted and approved, you may be able to apply for the criminal offense to be sealed and/or expunged under certain circumstances and limitations. We have an entire section of our website devoted to the details of sealing and expunging criminal records. You may be eligible for one of these processes.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a 1st or 2nd degree misdemeanor, you should consult with an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible moment. Time is not on your side in these matters. The prosecuting attorney will not hesitate to move your case forward for a conviction. You should protect your constitutional rights.