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"Criminal penalties in Florida for misdemeanors and felonies can be serious and costly." 

Criminal Penalties in Florida

This page contains information on the classification of crimes under Florida criminal law. Florida categorizes crimes as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the severity of the crime. It further classifies them by degree. The lower the degree the more serious the crime.

If you are charged with any criminal offense in Florida the potential penalties are severe. Criminal proceedings and in particular a criminal conviction can change your life forever. You should consult with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Failing to call a lawyer immediately can increase your problems. For specific information regarding your criminal charges, you need to speak to an experienced defense attorney.

Misdemeanor Offenses

Misdemeanor offenses are classified as either second or first-degree misdemeanors. Misdemeanor offenses are handled by the county court and are usually considered less serious crimes than felony offenses. Misdemeanor offenses include: driving while license suspended, battery, petit theft, possession of marijuana.

Second Degree Misdemeanor

A second-degree misdemeanor is a crime punishable by no more than sixty days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine.

First Degree Misdemeanor

A first-degree misdemeanor is a crime punishable by no more than one year in jail, one-year probation, and a $1,000 fine.

Felony Offenses

A felony is a serious criminal offenses. Felonies are classified as third degree, second degree, first degree, capital, or life offenses. Felony offenses include: DUI with injuries, robbery, burglary, possession of cocaine.

Felony offenses are heard in circuit court and are punishable by the possibility of more than one-year imprisonment. Felony offenses are sentenced pursuant to Florida's criminal punishment code ("CPC").

Under the CPC, also known as a scoresheet, each felony carries a specific amount of points. The points are set by the Florida legislature, regardless of statutory degree. The higher the level a felony is designated, the more points that will appear on your CPC scoresheet.

If you score more than 44 points, you are subject to a minimum term of imprisonment. If you score less, a judge is not required to sentence you to prison, but may still do so.

Third Degree Felony

A third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years probation, and a $5,000 fine.

Second Degree Felony

A second-degree felony is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison, fifteen years probation, and a $10,000 fine.

First Degree Felony

A first-degree felony is punishable by up to thirty years in prison, thirty years probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Life Felony

A life felony is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole, or probation for the remainder of your life, and a $15,000 fine.

Capital Felony

A capital felony is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.