Categories of crime under Florida law

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If you stand accused of committing a crime in the state of Florida, one of the first questions you are likely to ask a Miami criminal defense attorney is what kind of penalty you may face and, more specifically, if being found guilty will result in jail time. Several aspects of the charge lodged against you will affect the response you receive – one of which is the type of crime that has allegedly been committed.

Per Florida Statute 775.08, offenses are divided into the following classes based on their severity and the possible penalty they may merit.

Felonies – This area of crime encompasses more serious offense including rape, murder and aggravated assault, among others. Nonviolent offenses including embezzlement may also be treated as a felony. If found guilty of such a crime, an individual may be punishable by more than a year in a state penitentiary, and could face substantial monetary fees as well.
Misdemeanors – Misdemeanors are viewed as less serious by the state. The accused perpetrator, if formally charged and convicted, may face imprisonment in a county correctional facility that does not exceed 12 months. Disorderly intoxication and theft, depending on the material worth of the stolen goods, may fall in this category. 
Noncriminal violations – These offenses are not labeled as crimes under Florida law, and generally merit “no other penalty than a fine, forfeiture or other civil penalty,” if committed. Many traffic-related offenses, such as parking tickets, are typically considered noncriminal violations.

Other variables, such as the severity of the crime itself and whether the accused party has a history of past offenses, will also have a substantial impact on the sentence you may face. In future posts, this blog will review how these aspects may affect a ruling.

Facing criminal charges? Scott A. Ferris, Esq. is an experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer who will advocate relentlessly on your behalf. For a free phone consultation, call 305-670-3330.