Criminal law exists in Florida to protect individuals and their private property from harm or theft. The goal of criminal law is to ensure that Floridians can work and live in a safe and healthy environment. However, in some cases, the law is not always straightforward. It can serve to incriminate individuals who may not believe that they were guilty of the charges or who wish to practice civil disobedience.
While not as serious as felony charges, Brevard County, FL, charges for a misdemeanor crime can have a critical impact on the lives of Floridians. Having criminal offenses on your record, no matter how small, can affect your reputation and ability to pursue educational and professional opportunities.
At Chang Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys have spent many years defending DUI misdemeanors, including first- and second-degree misdemeanors. If you already have a misdemeanor conviction, a defense lawyer from our firm can speak with you about your case details and help you come up with a plan to get your penalties reduced.
Florida misdemeanors are classified into first- and second-degree misdemeanors. First-degree misdemeanors have more serious associated penalties than second-degree misdemeanors. A first-degree misdemeanor can result in a maximum of one year of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000. A second-degree misdemeanor can carry a maximum of a month in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
It’s important to note that a felony crime is considered to be more serious than a misdemeanor. The potential fines of a severe felony can be up to $15,000 in fines and a maximum of 30 years spent in prison. In some cases, a felony can lead to a convict spending their life in prison or even getting the death sentence. While misdemeanors are not as severe as felonies, they are still incriminating and can have negative consequences for the individual if convicted.
Understanding what a Florida misdemeanor looks like in both the first and second degree can help an individual have a better understanding of the severity of the crime. It also helps them know what kind of defense to mount to get the charges dropped or the associated penalties minimized.
In Florida, individuals can get a misdemeanor charge for:
A first-degree misdemeanor example of theft would be stealing property that is worth less than $100. Reckless driving, or driving with carelessness and disregard for other drivers, is also considered to be a first-degree misdemeanor. Additionally, possessing small amounts of marijuana and trespassing onto private property can result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge.
Receiving a second-degree misdemeanor, the more minor of the two degrees, can be even more common. Many individuals who get charged with this type of misdemeanor do not even know that they are committing a crime at the time of their arrest.
Resisting any form of arrest without using any violence can be considered a second-degree misdemeanor. Disorderly conduct is also usually charged at this level, though it can be more of a nuanced crime to judge. Additionally, loitering around an area or causing mild property damage can be a second-degree misdemeanor as well.
Many individuals who are charged with first- or second-degree misdemeanors have never been charged with a crime before, and they are often unfamiliar with the criminal justice system. They might even be surprised that they were arrested. In such cases, it’s important to hire an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer.
A: In the state of Florida, a misdemeanor will show up on your criminal record. This can have dire consequences for individuals, such as 18-year-olds who are applying to college. Fortunately, after a certain amount of time has passed, you can seal your criminal record or get the crimes expunged. An experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you with this process.
A: The hourly rate that a Florida criminal defense attorney will require can vary based on the severity of the charges, including whether the case is classified as a misdemeanor or felony. The current rate typically ranges from $100 to $500 per hour. It’s important to speak with your attorney upfront about all the charges and fees that will be incurred during the case so that you can plan accordingly.
A: In Florida, it is possible to defend yourself against misdemeanor charges. There are, however, some reasons why it might be more advisable to hire a lawyer. Florida criminal law can be complex, and having a legal representative who is familiar with the local court system and legislation can help you mount a strong defense, according to your case details. They can also negotiate with the prosecutors on your case to get your charges lessened or even dropped.
A: Choosing the right Florida criminal defense attorney for you depends on how much research you do. It’s important to look online at which criminal defense attorneys are registered with the Florida bar association and other prominent criminal defense legal associations. Make sure that there are positive reviews about the attorney, and ask for examples of cases that they have handled as well as their associated outcomes. It’s critical to ensure that they are experienced and knowledgeable in the particular area of law that your case is related to.
In Florida, it can be very difficult and frustrating to go up against misdemeanor charges, especially if you were unaware that you were even doing anything wrong. After being charged, you may still not have a firm grasp on what legal processes you will need to take part in and what your potential penalties are. Chang Law Firm can help you take back control of your misdemeanor case. Contact us today to learn more.