The five degrees of felony charges

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Under Florida law, a felony is defined as a crime that may be punishable by more than a year in a state penitentiary. Generally, felonies are seen to be the most serious type of offense, but there are further classifications within this category that can affect the sentence you face if convicted. Based on your situation, a Miami criminal defense attorney may fight to reduce your sentence by reclassifying the crime you have been charged with.

In Florida, felonies are divided into the following five types:

  • Capital felony – This offense is considered the most severe and harmful to society, and may merit a death sentence or lifetime imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Life felony –¬† A life felony is a crime that warrants 40 years to life imprisonment, but not a death sentence.
  • First-degree felony – If convicted of a felony in the first degree, an individual should generally face no more than a 30 year prison sentence.
  • Second-degree felony – This offense, by law, is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
  • Third-degree felony – As the least severe classification of a felony charge, this crime may merit up to five years in a state penitentiary.

While most crimes considered to be felonies are violent in nature, including murder, rape and aggravated assault, certain “white collar crimes” can also fall into this category. To determine the severity of your crime, the Florida judicial system utilizes a criminal¬†scoresheet, which this blog will discuss in future posts.

Certain circumstances, such as whether you possessed a firearm at the time of the alleged crime, may affect how the court rules on a specific criminal act, so it is essential to consult an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to review the specifics of your case. For guidance in this matter, call Scott A. Ferris, Esq. at 305-670-3330.