Felony vs. Misdemeanor: What is the difference?
People who are accused of a crime often wonder, “what does my criminal charge mean?”
In Florida, criminal offenses can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Whether a person is charged with a misdemeanor or felony depends on a variety of factors, including the type and severity of the crime and the person’s prior criminal record (if any).
The penalties of a misdemeanor conviction vary drastically from those of a felony conviction. Let’s examine the differences between the two to help you be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible when facing a criminal charge.
Considered less serious than felonies, misdemeanor offenses carry lighter penalties. Florida categorizes misdemeanors in the first and second degree.
First-degree misdemeanor charges are the most serious level in this category and punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Second-degree misdemeanors carry lighter penalties and are punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Some examples of misdemeanor offenses are:
- Disorderly conduct
- Possession of marijuana (less than 20g)
- Petit theft
Felony charges are more serious crimes, reflected by the harsher punishments of a felony conviction.
- Capital felonies are punishable by death or life in prison without parole.
- First-degree felonies are punishable by 30 years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Second-degree felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
Examples of felony crimes in Florida include:
- Sex crimes
- Aggravated battery
- Robbery with a firearm
- Felon in possession of a firearm
- DUI manslaughter
- Grand theft
- Dealing in Stolen Property
- Aggravated Stalking
- Fleeing & Eluding
- Drug trafficking
- Sale of a controlled substance
- Possession of a controlled substance
Challenging Misdemeanor & Felony Charges in St. Petersburg, FL
If you are accused of a crime in St. Petersburg, it is important to hire an attorney who will not only vigorously defend your case, but also offer the compassion and guidance needed to help you navigate the criminal justice system.
When you choose McNulty Parker Law, PLLC to advocate for your best interest, you can be assured that Anita will work tirelessly to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Whether you are accused of a misdemeanor or felony, the bottom line remains the same: Anita will vigorously defend your rights and fight for you.
Let’s get started on building a personalized defense on your behalf. Contact us online or call (727) 610-8933 to schedule your free consultation!