Criminal Law is divided into three categories, with varying repercussions: Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies. The laws and punishments are specific to each, and are briefly summarized below.
These are the least of offenses, usually punishable by a fine under $100, and never by jail time. There is no jury trail, but you may hire a lawyer to defend you before the judge. The most common infractions are traffic and parking tickets, and states vary on what constitutes an infraction. Traffic laws are generally consistent throughout the country, unless otherwise marked. Another infraction is jaywalking. Florida has no jaywalking law in the books, while some states forbid entering a crosswalk with a Don’t Walk sign flashing. Ignorance of local or state law is no excuse. As with any traffic situation, safety comes first.
Misdemeanors include DUIs, shoplifting, domestic violence battery, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, among many others. Florida courts can punish misdemeanors with as much as a year in jail in Florida. There can also be fines, probation, community service, and restitution.
Florida divides misdemeanors into two distinct classifications, which determine the severity of the punishment. A first-degree misdemeanor, which is the more serious of the two, can mean up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second-degree misdemeanor, such as disorderly conduct, is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
If you plead guilty, you give up your right to a trial. Pleading not guilty results in a court trial with a decision by a judge, or a jury trial decided by a six-person jury. Either way, it’s important to have a lawyer defend you to try to keep your record from being tarnished.
A felony is the worst of crimes, and includes both violent and non-violent crimes, such as fraud, robbery, drug trafficking, rape, kidnapping, homicide, and more. Depending on the crime, you can serve up to five years in a state prison and pay up to $5,000 in fines (at the least) or receive the death penalty for a capital felony. Misdemeanors, if repeated, can be escalated into felonies. Committing a felony can have severe and long-lasting repercussions, and can prevent you from getting a job, volunteering, going to school, running for office, getting credit and much more. You need the most aggressive defense possible.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you have no time to lose in contacting an experienced criminal attorney. When it comes to your rights and freedoms, you can’t afford to cut corners. Call me at deLaroche Law, 386-947-0909, and put my experience and tenacious representation on your side today. Don’t wait. The consultation is always free and you’ll be taking the first step to keeping your record clean.