Florida Misdemeanor Crimes
People who are charged with misdemeanor crimes in Florida may have many different reactions. Some people respond casually, believing a misdemeanor charge is “no big deal.” Others become confused as to what a “misdemeanor” charge is and wonder what it will mean for their futures if they are convicted.
Misdemeanor charges should never be treated lightly, since a misdemeanor conviction can have significant effects on your future. If you’re facing a misdemeanor charge, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a Florida misdemeanor defense attorney. The lawyers at Farah & Farah can help.
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor crime in Florida is a crime that is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, usually in a county jail, and/or a fine. Other penalties may also be imposed for a misdemeanor conviction. Misdemeanors are punished more lightly than felonies, which involve imprisonment of one year or more in a state prison and other consequences.
Misdemeanors in Florida are also categorized as the following:
- Second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail
- First-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 1 year in jail
Both types may also be punished with up to one year of probation, a combination of jail and probation, and/or up to $1,000 in fines.
Non-criminal traffic infractions are not considered misdemeanors. However, not all traffic infractions are non-criminal. For instance, driving under the influence (DUI) or driving on a suspended license are traffic violations that are also misdemeanors.
Other Misdemeanor Penalties
In addition to jail, probation, and fines, other penalties that may come with a misdemeanor conviction include:
- “house arrest”, for certain crimes;
- required counseling, such as anger management or substance abuse counseling;
- suspension or revocation of driver’s license;
- restitution payments to a victim or victims;
- community service;
- court fees and costs; and
- other penalties as determined by the court.
Certain misdemeanors also carry their own particular penalties. For instance, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs comes with penalties specific to the DUI charge, such as mandatory alcohol counseling or the use of an ignition interlock device. Some misdemeanor convictions may also trigger the “habitual offender” law if the person has been convicted of several previous misdemeanors, resulting in tougher penalties.
Will I Have a Criminal Record?
A misdemeanor does appear on a Florida criminal record. However, it is possible, under certain circumstances, to have a misdemeanor criminal record sealed or expunged. Because your chances of having a criminal record sealed or expunged may depend on how your charges were initially handled, it is wise to work with a defense attorney on your case to protect any future chances of sealing or expungement.
The Representation You Need
A misdemeanor charge can have a serious impact on the course of your life. No matter what charge or charges you face, you have the right to choose a Florida defense attorney who will fight to protect your legal rights and win the best possible outcome in court. At Farah & Farah, we strive to provide such representation for each of our clients. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. 855-797-9899.