In Florida, crimes are classified as felonies and misdemeanors, but felonies are far more serious crimes that are punishable by incarceration in state prison; capital felonies are punishable by death. If you are being investigated or have been charged with a felony, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.
Herman Law, P.A. is the premier criminal defense law firm serving clients in Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida. Over our many years of practice, we have gained a reputation for aggressively and successfully defending a wide range of criminal cases.
What is a felony?
Generally, a felony is any crime that is punishable by more than one year imprisonment in a Florida state prison. Examples of felonies include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Child Abuse
- Drug Possession (excluding marijuana)
- Sexual battery/rape
- White Collar Crimes (fraud, embezzlement, identity theft, money laundering)
Classification of Felonies
Felonies are classified as follows:
- Capital or Life Felonies – These are the most serious felony offenses. Capital felonies, such as first degree murder, are punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Life felonies are punishable by forty years to life imprisonment and a fine up to $15,000. Examples include, but are not limited to kidnapping, robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon, life sexual battery. In addition, those convicted of life or capital felonies may be required to pay restitution to the victims.
- First-Degree Felonies – Punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 and restitution. Examples include, but are not limited to burglary with assault and battery, trafficking in controlled substances, kidnapping, child molestation, and sexual battery.
- Second-Degree Felonies – Punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine up $10,000. Examples include, but are not limited to, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (no intent to kill), burglary of an occupied structure, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, sale of a controlled substance.
- Third-Degree Felonies – Punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Examples include auto theft, criminal mischief greater than $1,000, carrying a handgun without a permit, sale of marijuana, battery on a law enforcement officer.
Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code
In Florida sentences for felonies are determined by the criminal punishment code (CPC) that consists of a point system or score sheet. In short, the degrees of felonies are categorized into 10 levels and points are assigned for each level. Level One are the least serious – resulting in four points, while Level 10 are the most serious, with 116 points assigned. Moreover, multiple offenses and prior criminal convictions are factored into the points system. In short, the score sheet will determine both minimum and maximum sentencing. Ultimately, it takes an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to understand and navigate this complicated system.
Dedicated South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
In the end, a felony conviction can have long lasting consequences. In addition to the possibility of imprisonment and fines, a felony criminal record can lead to a loss of your civil rights, such as the right to vote. You will also be ineligible for state licenses, state or federal government benefits, or to hold public office. A conviction may also make it difficult to find employment or rent an apartment.
If you are facing felony charges in South Florida, you should talk with the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Herman Law, P.A. Our team will explain your rights, explore all your options and design a defense strategy to secure your freedom and protect your reputation. We have extensive experience defending clients in state and federal court and will work diligently to have the charges dismissed, win an acquittal, or if necessary, seek to have the charges reduced.
When your future is at stake, you need the superior legal representation we are uniquely qualified to provide. Call our office today for a free consultation.
Herman Law, P.A. serves clients in Ft, Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Martin, Okeechobee and Palm Beach Counties and throughout South Florida