Criminal Penalties in Florida
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 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.
A second-degree misdemeanor is a crime punishable by
no more than sixty days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine.
A first-degree misdemeanor is a crime punishable by
no more than one year in jail, one-year probation, and a $1,000 fine.
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").
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
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.
A first-degree felony is punishable by up to thirty years
in prison, thirty years probation, and a $10,000 fine.
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.
A capital felony is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.