Florida Criminal Defense Law - Overview
Felonies and Misdemeanors
There are two general categories of criminal cases – Felonies and Misdemeanors. The Central Florida criminal defense lawyers at Dicembre & Nace represent both felony and misdemeanor cases in Orlando and throughout the Central Florida area and look forward to discussing the particulars of your case with you in person. That said, we understand that many people charged with a criminal case here in Orlando are unsure of what to expect and have many questions. The following is an overview of felonies and misdemeanors as well as the general categories of crimes commonly charged.
What is a Felony? Felonies are criminal offenses for which the punishment is usually in excess of one year in prison or on probation and a fine of more than $1000.00. A person may also lose some or all of their civil liberties, such as the right to vote or own a handgun, if they are convicted of this type of crime. Third Degree felonies are punishable by up to five (5) years in prison; Second Degree felonies are punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison; and, First Degree Felonies are punishable
What is a Misdemeanor? Misdemeanors are crimes for which the punishment cannot exceed one year in the county jail or on probation and carry a maximum of no more than $1000.00. Although less serious than felony offenses, the punishment for misdemeanor offenses may also include a variety of other hardships such as community service; mandatory drug and alcohol counseling; classes and counseling related to your offense (such as Anger Management Class or and Impulse Control Course); restitution; restriction on your right to travel; electronic monitoring; and other types of punishments. Second Degree Misdemeanors are punishable by up to sixty (60) days in jail or six (6) months of supervised probation and First Degree Misdemeanors are punishable by up to one (1) year in jail or on supervised probation.
Criminal Defense Lawyers Michael Dicembre and Anton Nace represent individuals charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Brevard and Volusia Counties. Put our experience to work for you, call (407)649-1999 for your free consultation or contact us here and one of our experienced staff will call you today.
Florida Law - Types of Crimes
There are seven basic types of crime/criminal conduct. Each category contains both felony and misdemeanor offenses as discussed above. Clearly, the less serious crimes are usually treated as misdemeanors and the more serious crimes are felonies. Remember, whether a type of crime is a misdemeanor or felony depends upon the alleged facts and the potential sentence attached to the offense. To help answer some of your basic questions, we have outlined the seven (7) basic types of criminal offenses. The following is not a complete list of all criminal offenses and many offenses could rightfully be placed in more than one category. For example, "Battery Upon a Law Enforcement Officer"; is both a violent crime and a crime against a public official. Rest assured, however, that the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Dicembre & Nace have significant experience handling each type of criminal offense and are here to answer your questions regarding your specific case.
- Property Crimes – As the name suggests, property crimes are those involving some type of allegation of taking, using, or damaging the property of another individual or business without their knowledge or permission. Misdemeanor examples of property crimes include:
Felony examples include:
- Petit Theft (taking property worth $300 or less, most commonly seen in "Shoplifting"; cases)
- Criminal Mischief (the intentional damage to real or personal property provided the damage is less the $1,000.00)
- Trespass After Warning
- Uttering a Forgery
- Traffic Offenses – There are a number of traffic related offenses that the State has determined are so serious that a mere "traffic ticket"; is insufficient to punish the offender and have thus been declared criminal traffic offense. The most common misdemeanor examples of criminal traffic offense are:
although multiple convictions for either (especially within a short period of time) could result in the defendant being charged with a felony as an habitual offender. Other misdemeanor examples include:
Felony traffic offenses typically include those who have multiple prior convictions for DUI and DWLS/R, but also involve cases where there has been an accident and tragically someone was seriously injured or killed, such as "Vehicular Manslaughter"; or "Vehicular Homicide.";
- Sex Crimes - Sex crimes are those which involve an allegation of inappropriate and illegal sexual conduct. Misdemeanor sex crimes include:
- Exposure of Sexual Organs
- Lewd and Lascivious Behavior"; (provided not involving or in the presence of an individual under the age of 16)
The mere allegation of a sex crime can have a negative impact on the accused";s personal and professional life and a conviction, particularly for certain sex offenses, can have lifelong and life-altering consequences.
- Sexual Battery
- Computer Solicitation of a Child under 16 Years of Age
- Possession of Child Pornography
- Lewd and Lascivious Offense Committed Upon or in the Presence of Persons Less Than 16 Years of Age (including Battery Molestation Exhibition and Conduct).
- Drug Related Crimes – Drug offenses are criminal charges involving the possession, delivery or sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. Whether a particular offense is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony usually involves the type of drug and/or the weight/ amount of the drugs involved. Misdemeanor offenses include:
- Possession of Cannabis Less Than Twenty (20) Grams
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Normally, courts treat simple possession of drugs less seriously than selling or distributing drugs, as the user is seen as an addict or partially as a victim in need of treatment by many judges whereas a dealer is viewed as someone who preys on the addiction or weakness of another and is therefore seen as part of the larger problem. Whether a felony or misdemeanor, most drug offenses in Florida require the Court to impose a revocation of the defendant's driving privileges upon conviction.
- Possession of Cocaine
- Possession of Heroin
- Possession of Ecstasy
- Possession of Methamphetamine
- Possession of Prescription Drug without Valid Prescription
- Sale and Delivery of a Controlled Substance
- Conspiracy to Traffic in a Controlled Substance
- Crimes of Violence – Violent crimes involve acts or threats of violence against the person of another. Misdemeanor offenses include:
The potential sentences for these offenses, as well as the way individual cases are viewed by the prosecution and the court system, often depend upon the circumstances involved, the relationship of the defendant and the alleged victim, whether or not a weapon was used and the extent, if any, of the injuries sustained by the victim.
- Aggravated Battery
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Stalking
- Crimes Against the Public or Public Officials – This category of criminal conduct typically involves some act on the part of the defendant that is directed at a public official, government office, or constitutes a breach of the peace. Misdemeanor examples include:
- Disorderly Conduct
- Disorderly Intoxication
- Providing False Information to a Law Enforcement Officer
- Resisting an Officer Without Violence
- Resisting an Officer With Violence
- Battery Upon a Law Enforcement Officer
- Crimes Involving Weapons – Under Florida law, the manner and place in which one possesses a firearm or other weapon may constitute criminal conduct. Additionally, those who have been previously convicted of a crime may have forfeited the privilege of owning a firearm or carrying a weapon even for the purpose of self-defense. Misdemeanor offenses include 'Carrying a Concealed Weapon.' Felony offenses include "Carrying a Concealed Firearm"; and "Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon."; It is important before purchasing a firearm or other weapon that you know the law in order to ensure that you do not unwittingly commit a criminal offense.
Contact Dicembre & Nace - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers
Our Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers represent people accused of any and all criminal offenses. If you or a family member is charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Orlando, Winter Park, Lake Mary, Longwood, Kissimmee or anywhere in Central Florida, call the criminal defense attorneys at Dicembre & Nace today at (407)649-1999 for your free consultation