Florida's Misdemeanor Classes
In most U.S. states, there are three levels of crime. The first is an infraction. These are minor offenses, often handled with fines and citations. On the opposite end, there are felonies. These are the major crimes, and the most severe ones can lead to life in prison.
Misdemeanors are the “middle” crimes, resting somewhere between infractions and felonies. Minor misdemeanors may not come with jail time, and major misdemeanors can be treated almost as severely as felonies.
Examples of Misdemeanors in Florida
- Petty theft
- Minor battery
- Disorderly conduct
- Marijuana possession (20 grams or less)
- Domestic violence (not resulting in serious injury)
- Driving without a license or with a suspended license
- Selling or giving alcohol to someone under the age of 21
The Two Categories of Misdemeanor in Florida
Florida has only two misdemeanor classes.
Penalties can result in up to 60 days in jail and fines up to $500.
These crimes are more severe. They include domestic assault, vandalism, prostitution, DUI, and more.
If convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you could spend up to one year in jail and be fined up to $1,000.
Some misdemeanors can come with specific penalties as well. A DUI, for instance, often carries several additional punishments. Someone could be ordered to attend rehab, have their license suspended, have an interlock ignition device installed, and more.
Effects of a Misdemeanor
Immediately, a misdemeanor crime could force someone to lose their freedom. Even sixty days is a long time to be separated from society, and the loss of one year can have a dramatic impact on someone’s life.
Moreover, misdemeanor charges could follow you, affecting the rest of your life. They appear in background checks, often without context. A potential landlord or employer can see that you have this crime on your record, and they can deny you a job or housing. Even after you’ve fairly served your time, these denials mean you are still being punished for something in your past.
When you’ve been accused of any crime, you deserve your day in court. We all have a right to a defense, and we cannot be convicted unless we are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A good attorney can scrutinize the evidence against you and find insistencies or leaps in logic.
Sowing even the smallest bit of doubt in your case could result in dropped charges. This will preserve your freedom, and it could help restore any blows to your reputation.
Never assume that a misdemeanor is too “small” to fight. You can and should use your rights whenever you can. Doing so can give you a brighter future.
The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. is here to help defend you against misdemeanor charges. We are here for you, so call us today at (561) 475-2752 or schedule time with us online.