Protecting your rights is essential in all legal situations.
Crime classifications in Florida are of varying degrees- there are felonies, which are more serious crimes, and misdemeanors of the first and second degree. An arrest for any crime or situation can happen to anyone and may cause embarrassment or trauma.
If you have been arrested, we understand the range of emotions you're experiencing—especially if this is your first offense. Further adding to an already stressful situation are the impacts an arrest may have on a professional career if you have a reputation at stake, or worse, a professional license to protect.
The consequences from the arrest could be the least of your worries when a possible conviction could follow you for life. Most people do not realize that representation is beneficial for the outcome of a less-serious crime or misdemeanor charge.
We want you to know if you have been charged with a misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanor offenses, hiring a strong defense attorney as soon as possible is the best choice you can make.
“Hiring a strong defense attorney as soon as possible is the best choice you can make.”
First & Second-Degree Offenses in Florida
Misdemeanor crimes in Florida are classified as first or second-degree offenses and handled in the county court system. This includes the counties of Manatee, Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Sarasota. A first-degree offense is more serious than a second-degree offense, and if your sentence includes jail time, the time served is at the county jail.
First-degree misdemeanor charges consist of punishment or retribution of up to a one-year jail sentence and a fine up to $1000. Some examples of first-degree offenses in Florida include but are not limited to:
- Petty theft—repeat offense
- Domestic violence
- Bad checks valued under $150
- DUI and/or Reckless driving
- Vandalism, Trespassing, loitering, or Criminal Mischief
- Simple battery
- Indecent exposure and/or Solicitation for or engaging in prostitution
- Resisting arrest
Second-degree misdemeanor charges consist of punishment or retribution up to a six-month jail sentence and a fine of up to $500. These are less-serious charges in nature and can include variations of some of the following offenses:
- Petty theft, first offense
- Disorderly intoxication and/or conduct
- Simple assault
- Harassing phone calls
- Attaching unassigned or expired tags to a motor vehicle
- Driving on a suspended license- first offense
- Criminal mischief with damages under $200
When you are released from police custody, you will be provided with a “Notice To Appear” by a police officer with a court date and time. You must appear before the court to begin processing your case—regardless of the outcome we pursue. If you do not appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and may be frowned upon in any future proceeding.
Understand that the sooner we can resolve your charges with the court, you can move on and begin rebuilding any losses in your personal life.
Part of the legal process will be to collect the evidence we can present in your favor to the prosecutor. We can ask them to either offer a plea agreement or drop the charges altogether in some cases.
The goal is to get the charges dropped; however, sometimes, this option is not possible. In the circumstance where a plea is offered, we may push for a trial knowing the prosecutor will not have enough evidence resulting in all charges dropped. Also for consideration is the various diversion programs that Florida offers to offenders, which may be a good option for your case.
Regardless of the degree of your charges, if you have been arrested with a misdemeanor offense, it is important that you consult with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who understands what is at stake as soon as possible.
To discuss your legal options, contact the team at Powers Sellers & Finkelstein PLC by calling 727-531-2926 today to schedule your appointment.
Learn more about other specific misdemeanor situations and diversion programs here: