There are two types of crimes: Felonies and misdemeanors. The distinction between these two types of crimes is in the severity of the offense, and the penalties that could be imposed by the court.
- A misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable with one year or less in prison and that jail term is served in a local or a county jail.
- A felony is any crime that is punishable with a year or more in state prison.
Misdemeanor crimes can also include other penalties, including but not limited to:
- The payment of fines
- Serving community service
- Jail time
Anyone who is charged with a misdemeanor is entitled to a jury trial. In the state of Florida, misdemeanors have two classes: First Degree and Second Degree.
- First degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Examples of first degree misdemeanors include:
- Simple battery
- Writing bad checks under the amount of $150
- Criminal mischief
- Boating under the influence
- Disorderly conduct
- Spousal abuse and domestic violence
- Drunk driving
- Indecent exposure
- Second degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Examples include:
- Simple assault
- Petit theft
- Simple trespass
- Driving with a suspended license
- Disorderly intoxication
- Harassing phone calls
Felonies are more serious crimes. There can be heavy penalties imposed, based upon the type of crime and the criminal record of the defendant, including lengthy prison sentences, huge fines and, depending on the crime, can receive life in prison or a death sentence. Examples of felony crimes include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Grand Theft
- Weapons Offenses
- Possession with Intent
A conviction of a misdemeanor or a felony will have a serious impact on your future. If you have been charged with either a misdemeanor or felony, seek the legal guidance of an experienced Clearwater criminal defense attorney at once. Contact Hilliard Law, P.L. to find out your rights and discuss your case.