Felonies vs. Misdemeanors

You may have heard the terms felony and misdemeanor thrown around on TV or heard them on the street. However, not many people really know the difference between the two.

According to Florida law, felonies are much more severe crimes than misdemeanors. They usually come with severe punishments and longer prison sentences. Felony offenses can only be handled by circuit court judges and are punishable by more than one year in prison. Felonies in the state of Florida include some of the following:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Battery on law enforcement officer
  • Burglary
  • Child abuse
  • Drug possession
  • Felony battery
  • Grand theft
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Resisting officer with violence
  • Sex crimes

There are also different degrees of felony. These levels vary depending on the situation. The least severe type of felony is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years’ probation, and a $5,000 fine. A second-degree felony is more severe, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison, fifteen years’ probation, and a $10,000 fine. A first-degree felony has even harsher punishments; if a person is found guilty of a first-degree felony, he or she could face up to thirty years in prison, thirty years’ probation, and a $10,000 fine. A life felony is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole, probation for the rest of the accused’s life, and a $15,000 fine. Last, a capital felony is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are much less severe crimes. They are usually punishable by up to one year in county jail and are classified as misdemeanors of the first or second degree. Misdemeanors of the first degree are the more severe and can lead to up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Misdemeanors of the second degree can result in a jail term of up to sixty days and fine of up to $500. Misdemeanors can only be prosecuted within a set period of time. These statutes of limitations vary from one to two years after the crime is committed. Some examples of misdemeanors include the following:

If you’ve been accused of a crime, make sure you speak to a skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The faster you consult with a lawyer, the more time he or she has to mount a defense on your behalf. Our skilled lawyers at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. understand the stakes may be high in your case. Let us take a look at your situation and offer our legal advice regarding your best course of action. Whether you are facing a felony charge or merely a misdemeanor, we can help. Our firm has more than 35 years of legal experience to offer your case. We would be happy to defend your rights and freedom.

Talk to us in a case consultation by calling us at (727) 245-9009 or filling out our online form today. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.