Misdemeanors in Florida
Misdemeanors are handled in County Court in Florida. In order to qualify as a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment for the crime must be less than one year. Whether one year of probation, incarceration in the county jail, or a combination of both probation and incarceration. But Felonies are any crime in which the punishment exceeds one year.
Most Common Misdemeanors
Typical Florida misdemeanors include:
- Drug related crimes:
- Possession of Marijuana Less than 20 grams,
- Possession of drug paraphernalia,
- Driving charges:
- DUI (driving under the influence),
- Driving Under the Influence with BAC >.15
- Driving Under the Influence with Property Damage/Personal Injury
- Driving While License Suspended
- No Valid Driver’s License
- Reckless Driving
- Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test (Blood, Breath, or Urine)
- Expired Tags
- DUI (driving under the influence),
- Violence Charges:
- Battery (including Domestic Battery)
- Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction
- Theft / Property Charges:
- Petit Theft
- Worthless Check (Under $150)
- Criminal Mischief
- Disorderly Conduct
- Disorderly Intoxication
- Loitering or Prowling
- Resisting an Officer without Violence
- Indecent Exposure
- Public Urination/Defecation
Misdemeanors in Florida are much less serious than Felonies. But that doesn’t mean that misdemeanors can’t involve serious consequences. You can be arrested for committing a misdemeanor. And being arrested means you can go to jail, be required to post a bond, and have your picture posted to all of the mugshot reporting companies on the Internet.
A misdemeanor conviction can also have other consequences, including a permanent criminal record, loss of your right to own or posses firearms, and loss of other privileges like having a driver’s license.
Misdemeanors in Florida are broken into two offense levels: First and Second Degree Misdemeanors. A First Degree Misdemeanor is more serious than a Second Degree Misdemeanor. And a First Degree Misdemeanor generally carries longer probation, incarceration, and higher fines than Second Degree Misdemeanors.
First Degree Misdemeanor
First Degree Misdemeanors, carry a maximum of one year incarceration in the county jail or one year of probation. While charges can be run consecutive (meaning one sentence after another), the longest time you can be sentenced for is one year per first degree misdemeanor. And the maximum fine for a First Degree Misdemeanor is $1,000.
Second Degree Misdemeanor
A second degree misdemeanor typically carries a maximum of 60 days in jail or 6 months of probation. The maximum fine for a Second Degree Misdemeanor is $500. Although, certain Second Degree Misdemeanors like Driving Under the Influence carry minimum mandatory sanctions like 12 months of probation.
Notice to Appear
A Notice to Appear Ticket (also referred to as a NTA) is generally issued for small amounts of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, or some driving charges. Law enforcement made the decision not to formally arrest you and take you to jail. But you still have been accused of a crime. The next mandatory court date will be on your ticket. If you went to jail then your next stop is bail.
Why Should You Hire an Experienced Trial Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer that has actual experience in handling Misdemeanor cases in Florida may be the difference between a permanent record and jail time, or a more favorable result. I have personally handled thousands of these types of cases, both as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. As a defense attorney, I have drafted and argued motions that have resulted in actual dismissals of all charges against my clients. I have also successfully defeated misdemeanor cases through evidentiary hearings.
I have successfully handled nearly every type of misdemeanor cases throughout Sarasota, and Manatee, counties in Florida. If you have been accused of this type of crime, Contact Me Immediately for a free consultation to discuss your case. Let my experience handling these cases from both sides of the aisle assist you in preparing your best defense.
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