Sentencing guidelines for misdemeanors in Florida

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As this blog has reviewed, criminal acts committed in Florida are divided into two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. These classifications essentially dictate the maximum penalty you may face if convicted. However, within these categories, there are additional subsections that will further affect the sentencing process.

Felonies are generally considered more serious offenses, which merit more than a year in prison. Misdemeanors, meanwhile, are lesser offenses that are punishable by no more than 12 months in jail. Driving while intoxicated and theft – depending on the material worth of the objects taken – are generally classified as misdemeanors.

Yesterday, this blog reviewed the varying degrees of felony charges. Today, we’ll discuss how Florida law classifies misdemeanors.

According to Statute 775.082, misdemeanors are divided into first-degree and second-degree offenses. First-degree misdemeanors are considered more severe, and are punishable by up to a year in prison. In addition, the convicted party may be required to pay a fine of up to $1,000. Second-degree misdemeanors, by comparison, are viewed as less serious, and may merit a prison sentence that does not exceed 60 days. If found guilty, the accused could also have to pay a fee of up to $500.

Often, a judge may issue a combination of penalties that involve jail time with probation and a fee. If you are being prosecuted for a misdemeanor, a Miami criminal defense attorney may be able to help you obtain a reduced sentence, or plead your case if the charge is unfounded.

It’s important to note though, that these sentencing guidelines are subject to change, as other factors, such as a previous criminal record or the possession of a firearm, may alter how the court views a crime.

In the face of a criminal charge – whatever the scale – enlisting an experienced and tenacious Miami criminal defense lawyer is crucial. Scott A. Ferris, Esq. has been practicing criminal law for over 25 years, and will advocate tirelessly on your behalf.